Saturday, May 31, 2008

Is it Excitement or Anxiety?

Some friends and I have an overnight trip planned for tonight. We are headed out directly after I finish work today. I woke up with thoughts of this little adventure in my mind. My heart is racing and I feel anxious.

I am such a homebody that it isn't funny. I absolutely love the comfort I get from being home, coming home, having friends join me at my home, tending to my home, sleeping in my home ... You get the idea?

For me to step away from my home is tough. I enjoy it once I get used to the idea, but the day preceding such an event causes a lot of anxiety for me.

Leaving My Youngest behind is also another guilt factor. I have no desire to wish the years away, but it will be an entirely different scenario when he is a self supporting adult and I'm not leaving a dependent behind.

My family realizes this and so when my sisters and I get together for our sister-suppers &/or sleepovers, they come to me. I laughed when I said that it would be another ?? years before I could be the one that comes to them without any kids in tow. I will probably be around 55 or older and my sisters will be 64 and 66 before I can step away from my 'world' without a worry in my mind.

Does life begin at 55?? Heavens no!! That is why I am forcing myself out of my comfort zone and getting away with friends for a day. One day. We managed to get away for 12 hours out of a day last fall. This time, it will be over 24 hours.

I know it will be absolutely wonderful, once I step out of my life here and find myself on the highway in the company of good friends.

This precise moment of my morning ... anxiety is coarsing through my body. 9 short hours from now, it will be excitement.

Excitement ... what a wonderful way to savor a day!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Good Friend, Bad Friend?

There was a quiz ("Good Friend, Bad Friend") in an 'Oprah' magazine that I ripped out and wanted to keep in the forefront of my mind.

I have felt like I've been the needy friend, the too talkative friend, the friend that doesn't call, the friend that isn't there, the friend that physically take care of matters ...

In the matter of 'the forever relationship' that didn't make it, I was not an equal partner in our friendship.

As I looked at the friendships that are working in my life, I feel like I'm more giving. Not that there isn't always room for improvement. But I feel like I am doing okay as a friend.

It is the people that make you feel good ... bring you up and keep you up ... that are so important to surround yourself with. I want to be one of those people. I want to surround myself with those kinds of people.

I want to give as much as I take ... I want to listen as much as I talk ... I want to laugh as much as I cry ... I want to be a good friend as much as I want to have a good friend ...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Persistence of Yellow

I got the book "The Persistence of Yellow" and it is full of words to ponder. This one in particular struck a cord with me:

"Elena puts her hand on her wide hip and gives a big sigh. Where is everything today?" she asks and looks into a yellow field where her house used to be, where her garden used to grow. "I guess I'll have to start again." And then she sat down to invent a new world, a better one. One that lasts."

Although one can take those words figuratively (there was a point in my life when I was Elena and started all over again without much from a previous life; I have a friend who was devastated with a bankruptcy and had to start all over; and another family I know very well lost their home and belongings in a fire). In each case, it was only the material belongings that were gone. We were all very blessed, even though it was hard to realize that at the time.

How many times have we been in a place where we have to start again ... the end of a relationship, a move, a new job ... It is lonely, frightening, overwhelming and all so foreign when we lose someone or something we know so well.

But as soon as we can pick ourselves up and start again, we have the power to invent "a new world, a better one. One that lasts."

And so that ... is what I did.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crash and Burn

I seem to hit a point of no return with the excitement that I am creating in my mind ... then ... poof! It hits me. I crash.

Last night all I had to do was mow the lawn. I used to (just about) run when I was pushing that lawn mower because I was squeezing the task in between (what felt like) a bazillion other 'must do' things in my life. Last night, the job felt endless. I felt like I was moving at the rate of my very laid back, relaxed and retired neighbor (and what's really wrong with that??).

A shower is a need after that job - I came in feeling like I was covered with a layer of dust. So by the time I got cleaned up, I was powering down.

The night took care of itself - I ended up talking to 3 people on the phone but my enthusiasm level was fading and I didn't feel like very exciting or uplifting company.

Then ... I look at all the chances I am taking with myself in 'putting myself out there' (too much???). I seem to be in everyone's faces with my new idea about this or that ... and trying to draw people into my excitement as well. It's a risk. Something I would not have done, not so very long ago. And for the most part it seems like this feeling is contagious (I think that is why the sensation has gone on for so long for me).

The 'crash and burn' must be part of the creative process. I seemed to have one day a week where the wind was knocked out of my sails when I was in the middle of the Book Process. And I always bounced back. I'm hoping today is a 'bounce back' kind of day. I'm ready to feel excited and passionate about my life ... every day!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Do I Have Too Much Time on my Hands?

I seem to have gone headfirst into several ventures lately. As soon as things start getting quiet and comfortable ... I forge onto something else.

I admit, that I have gone blog-crazy! In our computer-connected-world, a blog just seems to be a perfect spot to meet up with friends near and far. It doesn't matter what time of the day or night it is. You can check in and 'connect' with a friend ...

I seem to have become addicted to people-contact in my life. Face to face is always best, but it just isn't easy with everyone's busy lives and commitments. I'm the worst offender. As much as I enjoy getting together with someone, I am bound by my responsibilities. Between a 6 day work week and having to take Kurt with me whereever I go, it's hard to step away and take time for myself. And when I do, it is guilt-bound time. If Kurt is with me, I am conscious of when he's ready to go ... if he's not with me, he is with someone else and I'm conscious of the clock and when I must return. By sitting at the computer at home, I can 'reach out and touch someone' with a few keystrokes. Second best, but it's better than nothing.

The spring has been full of social commitments and events. Things are starting to wind down in that regard and now I'm wondering what I can do to keep some of that momentum going. I've got some ideas ... and that's all it seems to take these days. One idea and I'm off and running again.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Mike Update

I talked to Mike's (our dog) new family this weekend and got an update on how he is making out with his new family.

The excitement and happiness on the faces of this family was amazing. They were so happy to tell me how Mike is doing. He has found a home where he is appreciated for the great dog that he is!!

The only unfortunate part is that Mike has picked a favorite. He is the 10 year old boy's constant companion. He sleeps in his room and won't get up until 'his boy' does. They go for walks and Mike comes home exhausted. They sound inseparable. The 5 year old feels a little slighted so they make sure he gets to feed Mike treats and do little things like that to make him feel special. The boys are so pleased with their new dog. They say, "He's our best dog ... ever!!"

Mike has taken over the couch and whenever they drive off, he is sitting on his couch looking out the window with an expression that says, "Where are you going?" The mom says they just put a sheet on 'his' couch and they are just fine with his claim to a piece of furniture.

They are also totally impressed with his manners. He listens and stays on the back mat (when he has muddy paws that have to be wiped off before he can come in). When they go downstairs, he'll sit on the top step and hunker his head down, look at them and wait to be invited down.

I'm so proud of our Mike. He was totally unappreciated at our home. But he has found a loving family who thoroughly enjoys him.

I couldn't be happier for him!

CPR on The Book

Well ... a family of 17 has been revived (see yesterdays blog). A phone call, a few emails and a small cost ... but we have saved a family!!

Recoverable errors. A person must count themselves lucky when a mistake can be fixed so easily. Life isn't always like that.

No lives were lost in the making of 'The Book'.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I love when live gives you a lesson in a quick and (almost) easy step ...

I used to be much more of a worrier than I am now. I would regret something that I had said or did and play it over and over and over and over in my mind. Wishing I could take back a moment and undo something I was accountable for. I lived my life, looking back. I held onto so many things that were out of my control. It was done or said or lived ... and there was no undoing them.

I have no idea when or how the evolution of 'letting myself off the hook' came about. Part of it may have been in admitting or confessing something I had done. By writing or saying it out loud to another human being (and best of all, if you could admit something to the person directly affected) released that negative energy in my brain. It is said that ''confession is good for the soul." I believe that. Maybe you can't undo what has done but you can start to heal a wound and learn.

Maturity is a big thing as well. Living more years lets a person put things into perspective. "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" was a book that I read and learned to live. I input a lot of words and information into my brain that started teaching me to believe that I could forgive myself for things that I had wished I had done differently. A mantra started cycling through my mind "Let it go ... it doesn't really matter in the whole scheme of things ... let it go ... it's OKAY." I made myself accountable for the stuff that did matter. In fact, I had something I had written about someone when I was 9 years old come back to haunt me this past while. I have confessed this sin of mine to many people and it has lightened the load. I know it will continue to be unfinished business until I apologize to the person I had hurt. 38+ years later, I can remember what I did to hurt another human being. The things that continue to rise to the top of one's consciousness are the unfinished business.

There was a time if I made a mistake in taping a television show that I had intended to tape, that I would berate myself and make a huge issue over it in my mind. I continue to mess up taping things that I intend on taping ... but each time I do it now it may be momentarily disappointing, but my immediate self-talk is, "Oh well ... it's no biggie."

Well ... last night I was relooking at The Book. In it's unbound form, lots of pages had ended up flipped on the wrong side. Each time I stumbled across something that didn't make sense, I had this pit in my stomach and this "Oh no!!" sensation course through my entire being. Knowing that the book is in its final journey and possibly in the mail to me at this very moment makes any mistake feeling completely unfixable. I continued through the book and came across the 'flipped page' syndrome enough times that my heart didn't drop every time I thought I'd made an error.

Then ... it happened. I found the error of all errors. In documenting our family's 'legacy', I wrote each family member's birth date, the day they got married (and to whom), and their kids, more marriages and the grandchildren. I spent days double checking the facts on this chapter. I called and emailed and looked up information to verify what I had was correct. In one case, I highlighted an entire family and (thought I had) copied it and pasted the exact information on an email to that family member to confirm what I had was correct. Up to that point, I had been averaging about 3 errors on each family. So I was delighted when I was told I had that family 100% correct. I didn't go back and recheck anything.

When I was in the final revisions of the entire book before I sent it off to be printed, I didn't even look at this 'Family Legacy' chapter. I had spent about 3 days going over and over and over it. I didn't even give it a second glance - I knew I had it as correct as I could make it.

Last night, as I paged through this chapter I came upon an entire family that had been deleted from this section. An entire family!! It was the family that I hadn't made any errors on. The family that I had (thought I had) copied and pasted to an email. What I discovered, is that I had cut and pasted that entire section from the book. I had unknowingly deleted this entire family. And since I hadn't made any errors on that particular family I didn't even give it a second glance.

I emailed the publishing company with an 'addendum' at 12:20 this morning ... or with a correction of that page, if it is possible to fix it at this point. They won't be in the office until tomorrow. So there is nothing ... absolutely nothing ... that I could do about it right at that moment.

At one point in my life, I wouldn't have been able to sleep over this. I would have raked myself over the coals, I would have replayed the error in my mind over and over and over. I would have been riddled with regret.

But there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. So .... I slept. And I slept well. I did wake up with this dilemma being first and foremost in my mind. But I slept. And my heart wasn't palpitating with guilt and regret. There was nothing I could do.

Then ... this morning, I watched an episode on Oprah where the guests on her show had physically lost members of their family in the flash of a second.

A grandmother backed up and ran over a grandchild. He died. She was doing nothing that we all haven't done a million times. But she lost a grandchild.

A mother fell asleep at the wheel of a car and 3 out of 6 of her children died. A momentary lapse of judgement and she paid a very steep price.

Another family lost a child due to a drunk driver's decision to drive.

In a fraction of a second, these family's lives were changed forever. Doing things that everyone does every day. Backing out of a parking place without physically getting out of the car to check to see that the coast was clear; driving when you are tired; driving home from a wedding. In a second, they lost loved ones. An irrecoverable loss.

I finished watching that show and realized how very, very fortunate I am. Yes ... I deleted a family. But it is fixable. It isn't a permanent loss. It is such a very minor blip in the whole scheme of things.

There was a day that I wouldn't have been able to feel so accepting of myself for making an error like that.

I am human. I make errors. I am fortunate that I got off easy. This is something that can be fixed. There are many things that can't be healed so easily.

It's all about perspective sometimes...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I am Pumped!!

I am thrilled and excited about my days!! I have found a way to 'up my game' and be a better childcare provider. I've discovered a way to make me live my days in the moment and take note of the good stuff.

I'm around kids for almost 11 hours, 5 days a week. That's a huge chunk of my life. And kids are ... draining. They have endless energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and a zest for living. They also run, yell, argue, tattle, fight and push the rules. There are meals and snacks to make; diapers and 'bathrooming' to be tended; schedules to meet (the various drop off and pick ups of the kids; plus 3 in preschool that come and go at various times in the day); rules to enforce ... I tend to focus on just getting through the day most of the time.

I run a pretty tight ship around here and the kids I babysit are really very good. But if you start focusing on the negative, soon that is all you begin to see.

I've been trying to put "The Secret's" philosophy to work in my personal life, why wasn't I concentrating on the majority of the hours of my week. The hours I spend with 'my kids'?

I had a brainwave to start up a private blog for my daycare families this week. I have tried to write up a quarterly newsletter for my parents and during my hectic spring of finishing up The Book Project and Mom's birthday, the spring newsletter got put aside. I hadn't done one in December either but I make an annual yearbook for the kids at Christmas and I put all my energy into that instead.

So I finally remembered 'it was time' to make up a newsletter this past week. I went into my new 'Microsoft Word' program and found a newsletter template and started to work. This template had places for my name, address, phone number, email address and .... a website.

It was at that exact moment that I thought I should start a private daycare blog for my daycare families. I didn't hesitate but a moment. The next thing I knew, I had a new blog set up and a link to the blog, to put in my newsletter.

I felt it was an inspired idea the moment that I did it. And each of the parents that have checked it out are so pleased with it. And when you get positive feedback on something, it is easy to put your heart and soul into it.

And that ... is what I have spent the last 3 days devoting my 'heart' to. This blog is so good for me. I needed to find a way to enjoy the moments and innocence of the kids that fill my days. Instead of focusing on the behaviours, manners and habits that I wanted the kids to follow, I have started listening to their conversations, taking pictures and videos ... and I've started behaving better myself. Because I know that I will be reporting the day back to my parents in my new blog.

It has made me accountable. It has stirred up the creative juices as I try to think of ways to 'talk about our day'. I am living in the moment and actually enjoying the kids! I spliced together a video of our day yesterday to put on the blog. I have watched the end result over and over and over. I am amazed at my little daycare family. They are adorable! In my day to day rut of getting through my days, I have missed that very obvious fact. My friend that stepped in to babysit for me a few times told me this, but I was too busy to really hear her. She is so right.

There have been other times in my life where I needed to find a way to make a job more challenging, less boring or easier to tolerate. I have pushed myself to take classes to keep me challenged and found other creative ways to push myself to my limits. It is always the creative outlet that provides the best results. Once my creative juices start flowing, I feel a glow from within.

Once again, I have followed my instinct. That first 'intuitive thought' that feels so right. I have fought that intuition on many occasions. One can overthink absolutely anything. In following through on my ideas, I have created a joy within me that no one can take away. This past year has been one of following my heart and not stopping to think about something.

Yes. I am totally pumped. The energy inside of me this morning is beating with every heartbeat. I am excited about my life and how I am living it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Calm Centre

The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person.
~Norman Vincent Peale~

I read my quote of the day from "The Secret" calendar I have, then came to check my emails and found this message.

"The Secret" is all about creating your own joy from within. Your thoughts empower or overwhelm you. If you feel joy, you create joy all around you. If you feel despair, you draw negativity to you. The thoughts you give the power to will 'win' and will attract similar situations to your life ...

The power derived from a calm center is incredible. Think of the cyclone. Think of yourself ...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The 21 Day Cleanse

After watching Oprah's show yesterday, I am thinking hard about the '21 Day Cleanse' ...

This sounds like it would eliminate most of my diet .... No caffeine; No gluten/bread; No sugar; No animal products (this includes milk, cheese, eggs, etc); No alcohol (okay ... one is easy).

I've been unhappy with the way my body feels and looks lately. I feel old, haggard, lethargic and I have 10 pounds I wouldn't mind misplacing. I feel bloated and yucky much of the time.

I know I use food to soothe me. It feeds me when I'm tired, sad, lonely, happy. It has become a form of entertainment in many ways. I don't like how I'm 'using' food.

It is time to look within and see if I can find my 'inner body'. I feel like I've found my 'inner self'. So it's time to work on completing the cycle.

Right now I'm thinking on it. I have plans with friends at the end of the month. So I'm thinking June 1st would be a good start date. But I can start deleting some of the 'do not eat' items out of my diet immediately.

I've been working on housecleaning my life, my house, the garage and the yard. Now it's time to start working on cleaning out my body.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A New Lease on Life

After 3 days off and accomplishing almost everything I set out to do, I am looking around this morning and I feel renewed.

From outward appearances, nothing is changed.

I have sprinkled grass seed in various dead spots in the yard ... but until it starts to grow, it looks the same. I have cleaned out some closets and dressers ... but the doors and drawers are closed and it looks the same. The garage is organized once more. But the doors are always shut, so from the outside ... it looks unchanged. The windows and blinds are clean, but to anyone else that glances at them ... they appear the same as they always do. Registers have been vacuumed out; the ceiling fans have been cleaned; the lawnmower and BBQ are ready to go. But it all looks the same as it did before.

Sometimes that is just the way it is. It is the inner cleansing that feels so refreshing. I look at the closed doors and know that within, it is cleaned out and ready to go.

I have filled our garbage bin for the first time in about a year. I have taken 2 trips of recyling to various drop off points. I have a shelf where I'm starting to accumulate 'garage sale items'. I'm letting go of some of the old stuff.

I have had times where I'm more than ready to get rid of everything and anything that defines clutter or isn't used regularly. Then I've had other times where I look at something and waiver - not knowing what to let go of or keep. This matter of decision or indecision seems to mirror what is going on within myself. The times where I've been able to let go without a second thought are during times of growth and renewal. When I thought my last relationship was headed towards a 'foreverness', I had an easy time letting go of things and moving forward. During the struggle of holding onto that relationship, I picked up an item and felt an anxiety. I couldn't let anything go. Right now, I seem to be somewhere in between the 2 places. I guess that is a good enough place to be. I'm not throwing out everything. Nor am I hanging on to what I don't need.

As I look all around me this morning, everything looks the same. But it feels so different. An internal change. I think that is what has happened within myself during this year of growth. An inner peace and strength that I had lost somewhere along the way.

I feel renewed. I feel that my actions are reflecting what is going on within. Although from all outward appearances I look exactly the same, I feel a brand new and refreshed within.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Dirt on Dirt

It doesn't matter if I'm outside working in the dirt ... or inside cleaning the dirt. It feels good.

Outdoors, working in dirt is a soulful kind of magic. You feel 'at one' with the earth. It is peaceful, therapeutic and you are accomplishing something at the same time.

Inside, it is an inner cleansing. An 'out with the old' kind of feeling.

I've done a lot of spring cleaning with my life in general lately. It was time to do some physical labor and clean my house and yard as well.

I'm hooked on the feeling. My plan is to tackle a few inside jobs this morning and savor the last day of this long weekend for the rest of the day.

It's been a very cleansing kind of weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

I love my new windows!! They are so simple to clean - only two sides to wash. The inside and the outside. No dismantling required as with the 4 panes of glass you end up washing (inside and out) with sliding windows. Yet ... out of habit, I tend to put off washing the windows. I equate the job of washing the new windows as to that of washing the old. Same job, but half the work. In my mind I am convinced it is a huge task so I have a hard time convincing my body otherwise.

And ... new or old ... there is nothing that pleases me more than looking out clean windows. The clean blinds help as well. There was a layer of fuzz that covered the entirety of the blinds that made them appear to have a whole new texture.

The world looks a little brighter today. It's cloudy outside, but the windows are clean and I feel sunny inside.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

At One With Nature

What a beautiful day. In every sense of the word ...

Our weather has warmed up and the outdoors has been beckoning to me at last! I woke up this morning with little vim and vigor but I knew I had some early morning errands to run so that got me moving.

Once we got back home, I started puttering around outside. Again, I really didn't feel motivated or very energetic. But I thought I'd just putter. Well as my puttering often goes, one thing led to the next and I was outside for the majority of the day.

It feels so good to work outside. I sure didn't break any speed records in getting my work done. But the sun was out, the weather was fine and it was a glorious day to spend in the yard!

I gave myself permission to stop and take a sun-break for a few hours. I grabbed a book, a drink and parked myself in a sunbeam. I would read for a while ... then I'd just gaze around at the world around me. I was soaking up everything good in the day. I was appreciating all that I have ...

Last summer I did a marathon painting job that lasted about 3 months. Lots of work has been done outside this past while. So everytime I look around, I see what has been accomplished. There are days when a person looks around and all you see is the work that has yet to be done. There is always work to be done, if you are a homeowner! And I could have chosen to focus on my next outdoor wish list. But instead, I gazed around and fully appreciated all that I have.

I am grateful to own a home; relieved that I am able to keep on top of the maintenance; and thrilled that my home and yard are fully utilized (there is nothing more frustrating than spending all your free time maintaining a yard that no one appreciates).

Being outside and accomplishing something is a very 'grounding' experience. A person feels 'at one' with Mother Earth. And at the end of the day a person is tired for all of the right reasons. Fresh air and exercise (or work). It is a great sensation ...

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Long Weekend on the Horizon

I'm sitting here in a very relaxed state. Three entire days ahead of me. Wow. No 'Book Project' to monopolize my time. No company coming (nor are we going anywhere). Three uncommitted days. Wow.

It has been a very long time since I've had this many days without any game plan in mind. Too much time on my hands last year played havoc with my peace of mind. Too much time to think. I was looking back a lot then. Now I'm looking ahead and idle time doesn't frighten me.

There are many projects that I should get busy at. I got a jump start at the outside work today when Dale cleaned out/organized the garage. I would say that he is about 95% responsible for the utter state of chaos it was in, so I am very grateful that he took it upon himself to tend to it.

Dale's initiative with the garage made it possible to find the recycling again (it was deeply buried among insulation from the bedroom renovation project that he is also helping out with). So I made one trip to drop off recyling tonight and should be able to return bottles in the morning.

We also unearthed the lawn mower. Although I hadn't gotten any gas for it yet, I did change the oil and air filter this afternoon. So I'll be good to go, as soon as I fill up the tank.

I found the 'lost' grass trimmers (which was the reason I made my displeasure about the state of the garage known to Dale last night). Unfortunately, I am totally responsible for not being able to find them. They were exactly where I had put them (only I was certain I'd put them somewhere else). So ... I trimmed the edges of the backyard lawn this afternoon as well. A tedious job, but something I can do with a yard full of kids.

As Dale came upon the air pump as he was cleaning out the garage, he asked if I'd filled the bike tires yet. I couldn't do it (I didn't realize that it had an attachment for pumping up air mattresses on it - so it didn't fit on the bike), so he took off the attachment and left the job for me. I made it a bigger job than it had to be. The air pump has to be tilted on its side, for starters (it leaks air, otherwise) and I simply didn't have the knack to fill the tires. But by the time I got to the third bike, I sort of had a system worked out.

So ... the outside work has begun. Lots of forward steps made today, which will make it a much less cumbersome job this weekend. There is a fair amount of outside work left, which is kind of nice. It's supposed to be a warm weekend so it will be good to push myself outside and tend to some of the work that our cool spring has delayed.

Fresh air, sunshine and a sense of accomplishment. Sounds like a recipe for an enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Quiet Mind

It seems that all is quiet from 'within' .... I feel content, peaceful and simply an inner glow.

What is the recipe for this state of mind? I wish I knew.

Is it the fact that I don't have the to-do piles around my house these days? Ever since I issued the invitations to Mom's birthday party in January, the 'piles' around here started accumulating. The invitation/memory book piles ... The Book piles ... the little things I wanted to remember to take to the next gathering of friends ... cards to send ... letters to write ... telephone calls to make. Yes. I had piles and lists galore.

I look around this morning and what do I see? A book with a few pages left to be read. A video tape from my dance lesson that I should watch and try to start imprinting in my mind and feet. The list of things to try and accomplish on this upcoming long weekend. And that's it.

Everything feels in a caught up state. Yes, I could devote one entire day to working outside and another full day to working inside. These projects, once started will propel me into list and goal mode. Once I start something there is always a trickle down effect of other things that it leads to. Maybe that is why I'm idling in neutral at the moment.

I'm savoring the caught up feeling. The feeling of accomplishment. This is a fleeting sensation. I've been here before. It is followed by a restless state that propels me into my next course of action.

I do believe that is why my mind is quiet this morning. I'm in the transitional state between goals. I'm savoring the moment and enjoying the quietness within.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Moving On ...

We had a 'Mike' update last night ...

Mike (our dog) has found a loving family. And by the sound of the first report back to me, he is in dog heaven! 'His' new boys both wanted Mike to sleep with them, so they camped out and they all slept together the first night. It sounded like Mike to want to sleep with the 10 year old. He always did enjoy his older boys ... they seemed to speak the same language and lavish the kind of love he craved upon him.

Apparently the parents are pretty pleased as well. He doesn't get into a thing during the day and "... it's like he just sleeps on the couch all day!" Sleeping on a couch?? After being confined to the back entrance, sleeping on a couch and having the run of the house would define 'getting into things' by his standard.

They've spiffed him up with a bath and brush out. I think he's there to stay.

It makes my heart so happy to hear he has found a home where he can be appreciated for the dog that he is.

As with the relationships in my life that I've taken a step away from ... I think that those people that aren't part of my day to day life anymore have the ability to find a more loving home. Just as Mike has.

Everyone deserves to be in a home and relationship where they are adored, appreciated, loved and given the freedom to be themselves. Mike has found this. I truly hope that those I have let go of, have found the same.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Looking Back

I had journalled my thoughts last year from June 3rd - Dec 18th. I just reread them tonight. A 2 hour glimpse at the past.

Wow. It was actually rather interesting reading those words, when I knew 'the end of the story'. I had to go through every step of the process that I did, to get from 'there' to 'here'. It was quite a trip.

But I love where I have arrived. And even on looking back on the road to getting here, it was a good trip. I have documented the process of drawing people, activity, dancing, writing and living back into my life.

This is an actual entry from my 'journal' from August 11th of last year. I reread it and thought "Wow! Those goals were life-altering ... and I actually followed through on all of them!" ...

Aug 11/07 - I need a plan. I need to get myself out of this rut. Dancing is first and foremost in my mind .... but I need more. I need to interact with people. I think I need to reach out to some friends. I should try and initiate an 'optimist group' gathering. I should email (my friend) and see if and when she may be up to some company and maybe we could head out to Regina. I should call someone. I should make some sort of plan to use my credit with Westjet. I should start to gather some of the info to work on that book about Mom's growing up years. I should act on at least one of these ideas. Maybe two or more.....

I need a plan. I am going to email my Optimist Friends right now and see where it takes me ....

Well, the plan worked. Life has been on an upward curve ever since ....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Blog, New Goals

I have spent the last few hours setting up my new blog: "I to I - Infants to Independents". I've got a link on the side of each of my blogs to go back and forth between the two. More technology that I've deciphered.

I basically typed word for word, the words that I had scrawled on paper while I was outside with the kids on Friday. Writing the words down the second time around didn't feel terribly creative or original. So I feel like I've made a luke warm start at this second endeavor. But it is a beginning.

One of the goals I set for myself a few days ago is being acted on. The act of writing something down makes such a difference to me! I was rereading through this blog this morning and reread the words I wrote about my book on January 25th. It was when I had the vision of the completed book embedded in my mind. The title, the cover and the chapter headings. Then I found the date when that dream became a reality. It was April 25th. Four months to the day!!

The power of goal setting! The feeling of accomplishment once goals are attained!! It's fantastic.

A Perfect Mother's Day

This is the note that I just found inside the card My Youngest just left out for me to find:

My Mother's Day Poem

Violets are blue
Roses are red
I will love you
Until I'm dead!

A perfect end to a most perfect series of days ... from being able to go to the Mother's Day Tea that My Youngest's class put on, on Friday ... to my Middle Son taking me out for supper last night ... to talking to my own Mom today ... and just a general good feeling about being a mom and my own little family unit.

It is a good day to be a 'mom'.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Last Night of the World - Miss Saigon

It was a great dance lesson tonight! My instructor showed me (and started teaching me) what he came up with, for the bolero part of our routine. And he found this song to dance to. My first impression of it when I heard it, is that it is dreamy. I came home and found it on YouTube. And it is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. The music ... the lyrics ... the passion.

"Dance ... like it's the last night of the world."

What could be better for a dance routine? I love it!!

A Babysitting Blog/Book; Another Family History; Cut Down on Salt!

These are the new goals I set for myself today!

After talking to a friend last night and 3 cups of caffeine this morning, I have decided to embark on writing about babysitting.

My friend has been encouraging me to do this for years. And now, after the completion of The Book ... I want to forge ahead. My head was swimming with ideas and topics as I took the kids to the park this morning. And as soon as the afternoon allowed, I sat down and wrote as the kids played outside. 6 pages.

I also committed myself (with no doubt in my mind) to help a friend compile her family's stories. I want to do this. I'm excited about doing this! I am doing this!! I'm not sure of a start date, but my thinking is that she should have a good look at the book I did put together and decide what kind of outline we should try to follow for hers.

I have also been overindulging in chips lately. I feel bloated, pudgy and kind of overall bigger than I like to feel. Instead of making myself unattainable goals, I shall start by cutting back on salt (i.e. chips). I can't afford to be a new size ...

This outdoor weather, a 'right' amount of kids today (3 cancelled, leaving me with a 'perfect' amount), a good friend who helped me out once again (so I could attend a Mother's Day Tea at the school), a great son (who delivered Tim Horton's coffee to me at the park this morning!) ...

It's been a great day. A goal-setting-kind-of-day!! I'm moving on again...

Growing Pains

"You're growing, Stevens ..."

"Well, I wish it would stop."

Grey's Anatomy. I love the thoughts and emotions that show provokes in me. It never fails ... each episode has at least one small morsel (and usually many more) that speak directly to my heart.

Growing pains. It never fails ... the more one hurts, the more one grows.

Being in the middle of that pain in my life ... whether I was 17, 27, 37, 47 ... (every 10 years or so, I seem to cycle through a new phase of 'growth') ... it hurt like heck. And it really never seemed to fail. Each time the hurt felt a little more intense.

I guess one thinks they have learned that lesson and it won't happen again. And when it does ... the pain is brand new again. Just like reopening that wound - it hurts more the second time around because it never really healed.

With the pain comes healing. The healing process revives me. It is the oxygen to my soul. Sometimes growing hurts. The more you hurt, the more potential there is to grow.

At one point in my life, I thought I had closed off my heart and could hurt no more. That was a little frightening to me. I was afraid to risk myself again. So when I realized that I could hurt to the very core of my being last year, it ended up being the biggest gift I could have received.

I have the capacity to open up my heart and care. And trust. The trust was broken. But ... I would risk it all and trust again. I have friends and family all around me that show me in ways that words can't say, that the world is full of trustworthy people.

When a relationship isn't built around trust, it isn't worth having. I would rather be on my own, than to be with a person I couldn't trust. I am worth that.

I'm healed. For now ...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Heaven on Earth

I believe that we are meant to bask in the great outdoors ...

Spring has finally arrived! I'm able to go outside with the kids and we aren't battling the elements. The snow has melted, the mud is gone, the sun isn't too intense and I haven't seen a mosquito (yet) ...

Yesterday afternoon, I sat and enjoyed my favorite babysitting moment. Listening and watching children contentedly at play, is one sure fire way to make my heart soar.

They were intensely involved in their game and what they were building in the sandbox. Their chatter was nonstop. There was give and take going on (at one point, there was an argument that could have happened but they resolved it between themselves). Even the 'younger sibling' seemed to respect the game that was going on and though she tried to push her way into it, the three of them got through that small moment and within minutes they were all back to their previous state of contentedness.

These are kids that can be a challenge at times ... so it was such a gift to be able to tell the parents just how wonderfully they played and got along at the end of the day. I much prefer to end a day on a positive note.

But sometimes it just feels like I'm spinning my wheels. As I was telling the last parent of the day just how good her son was playing and getting along, he was acting up (as he almost always does, as soon as she arrives). I made the comment to him that I was telling his mom how good he was ... didn't he want to hear? And the mom replied, "No, he'd rather hear you talk about how bad he was."

There were go again. Let's tell our kids how to act .....

Oh well. I still enjoyed my small piece of heaven while I had it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What's Next?

I think it's time to pull out the list of '66 Ways to Build Courage' again.

As I laid back last night, with my feet up and relaxation oozing out every pore of my being, I thought "Ah ... this is the life!" But I know that I wouldn't have had that perfect sense of 'being', had I not climbed a few steep hills these past months.

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has been my driving force for the better part of the last year. It seemed a year ago, almost everything felt uncomfortable. But the past 4 months or so, I have gone beyond and pushed the limits.

It is intoxicating. I have drawn people back into my life and it is wonderful!

This is the time of year one thinks of spring cleaning. I have done a lot of that this past year! I have seen Wes and Dale move out on their own; I have gotten out of a relationship that was bringing out the worst in me; and yesterday our poor, neglected dog found a loving home. I have drawn family back into my life; I have more time and energy to spend with my friends; I am writing; I am dancing; I am living again!

And I'm not going to stop. I'm looking ahead and wondering where do I go from here?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Going With the Current

Yesterday, the message of the day in "The Secret" calendar was about when you are trying to make something happen, it feels like you are going against the current in a river. And when you are ''acting to receive from the Universe'', you will feel as if you are flowing with the current of the river.

I have noticed that time and time again in my lifetime. There are times when you follow your heart, your instinct, your calling or whatever. And everything unfolds perfectly. As if you were following a well choreographed plan.

Other times, you make a decision and it feels as though there are road blocks at every turn. Nothing goes as planned and it's like you are fighting a losing battle.

When I decided to move my family out to Saskatoon, it was one of those times when absolutely everything unfolded perfectly.

I got the first job I applied for; I found a place to live without any effort; everyone in my life was totally supportive of the move. The time and place were right. And as if that wasn't enough of a sign, I have my ''red dart story'' ...

When I moved out here, I had next to no belongings to take with me. So Mom packed up things from her house to help to make a home out of our new place. She sent a variety of belongings out with me. And one thing that she sent, was a dart board and darts. Now, you would really have to know Mom and how every game in our house had all of its parts and pieces; every puzzle had every piece in the box and anything at home was taken care of. The dart board she sent with me was missing one red dart. That, unto itself was unusual and unheard of. But what was totally amazing, is that when we moved into our new townhouse here ... stuck in the wall of the totally empty basement was ... a red dart. This sends tingles up my spine to think of this again. It was the final sign of how this move was 'meant to be'.

When I decided to try to support myself by babysitting and take a giant leap of faith to leave a fully secure job, it was exactly the same thing. I asked for a years leave of absense so I could see if I could manage to live off what I could earn. And I was granted that. When the year was up, I asked if I could work on Saturdays (to keep my options open and my foot in the door) and that wish was granted as well. Time and time again, I have run into 'tests of my faith' in the babysitting world. The income you earn when you babysit is unreliable and changes like the wind. And every time I was at a crossroads where I wondered which way I should go ... it never failed. As soon as I made the commitment within myself to stick with the babysitting, something would happen to make it financially feasible again. This has happened so many times that I have lost count. It was as though all I had to do was 'believe' and the rest unfolded as it was meant to be. It was like going with the current of the river.

Today, I have felt and been reminded of this positive flow once again ...

My aunts and Mom got together and thanked me for putting the book together with/for them. This entire Book Process has been like riding along with the flow of that river. As soon as I made the decision to follow through and actually do this, everything fell into place. Nothing was working against me (though I did have my challenges getting to know Microsoft Word!!). It astounds and amazes me just how all I really had to do was 'go with the flow', and the book took care of itself.

Now, this sounds off topic but it really isn't ...

I have been actively searching for a better home for our dog this past while. It wasn't happening easily, and then I read this quote in "The Secret." I told myself that if it felt like I was 'going against the current' that maybe I just had to believe this was happening for a reason and not to fight it. My heart wasn't in that thought though, because I knew that our dog really deserved a more loving and attentive home. I was getting so easily angered with his barking and his recent habit of digging up some new sod.

Then ... today, it happened.

A friend of a friend had just decided that they wanted to adopt an older dog and had gone to the SPCA without their kids to look around. Amazingly, the SPCA didn't have any older dogs and then my friend called her and mentioned our dog that we were trying to find a home for. Everything seemed to be working against us meeting up together this weekend, but I ended up leaving my key with my friend just in case they wanted to come and meet "Mike" while we were gone.

Well, sure enough. It was 'love at first sight'. She called me tonight and asked when they could pick him up. We talked for quite a while and I told her all about Mike, why we got him and why we are looking for a new home for him, his personality and habits (bad and good). She told me their story ... and it just feels like a match made in heaven.

He is such a good dog. But he is so neglected here. And he is going to a home with a 5 and 10 year old boys (I think) who are so excited about this. Mike adores being adored. And he lavishes his love on any willing recipient. And he loves kids.

We're 'going with the flow' once again....

More on Breathing ...

This Sunday morning feels so foreign to me. It my third day off in a row. It is a day with only a small 'agenda' (supper plans with my aunts and Mom).

I may need to take 'breathing lessons' to learn how to fully appreciate all of this time!

I have stepped back and looked at some of the things that have consumed me the past 4 months. I seem to have lived those months at a pace where I got a lot accomplished and I also felt like I had the time to 'savor the moment' as I went through the various stages of progress of what was at hand.

I am haunted by a small amount of remorse. 'The Book' being completed in a fast forward time warp may not have resulted in the best outcome. I looked at it again this morning and it seems better than my memory of what it was. No matter how polished and edited and reworded and reworked it may be, there will always be room for improvement. But for those who helped me compile the stories, it is nice to have it in its finished form.

As I rewatched the edited (shortened) video recordings of our visits, I feel better about the book. On numerous occasions, I know that I have written word-for-word what I was told. It's hard to encapsulate the entire essence in which the words were spoken but I am hoping that no one feels like I took their words and twisted the intent.

There is a huge gift to me intertwined in this whole Book Project. I heard and read these stories first hand. I felt the emotion, the laughter, the spirit in which the tales were relived and retold. It is a huge responsibility to try and put this on paper so that years down the road, our family can reread it and feel it as well. That is the part that I don't know if I succeeded at ...

It feels like all of those that were involved in the retelling of their lives have received 'the gift' as well. And with that in mind, I can count this as a success.

I am meeting up with all of these newly reacquainted family members for supper tonight. My aunt that arranged this wanted to do this to thank me for helping them 'tell their story.' How special is that??

I shall take a long, deep breath and savor the moment tonight. It is a memory I want to imprint in my mind forever ...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Breathe ...

I can't remember the last time I slept in a little bit. This morning I slept until 7:50. Ahhhh...

And this afternoon ended up being an unexpectedly quiet and lazy day. I had thought the weekend would have a constant go, go, go feeling. But I was wrong. I did make an unexpected trip to Watrous, but even that was enjoyable. It was a beautiful day ... we left early enough that we weren't under the gun to be there ... and it was a quiet and leisurely drive back.

My Oldest's grad was enjoyable. At one point, I visualized his Kindergarten Christmas concert and that absolute and complete joyousness of a heart that is so full that it could burst. This grad didn't quite meet that moment. But I was so glad to be a part of his day.

A day that I had no other kids with me. I could enjoy the moment and savor My Oldest's day. No one or nothing else was dividing my attention. Since my Middle Son's birth, My Oldest and I haven't had a lot of days like that. It's a small thing. But it is something ....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Unbelievable! I sat and stewed over all the situations in my life that I felt I had no control over for ... days? I wrote it down yesterday morning. And by last night the tide was shifting.

I made one phone call. I asked for 'help' with My Youngest on Sunday. And it is going to work out. He is going to get to spend the day with one of his best friends. Whew. Pure relief.

Then ... the phone rang ... and my hope to see my cousin in Moose Jaw, while we are there tomorrow will work out after all.

Then ... this morning the tide continued to shift.

My phone rang. It was my sister. As we chatted about 'life', I mentioned one of the times that I need a place for Kurt to find a place to stay. And ... she said she could do it. I will still see if I can find someone who lives a little closer. But it's nice to have a back up plan.

The phone rang about an hour later. It was my new family that stayed away from here yesterday because of the chicken pox. They decided to come after checking things out with the doctor. And not only is she coming ... she is coming full time (the mom said she may go back only half time at first)!

My new little 1 yr old spent almost 5 hours here today and it went very well. She is a delight. So are her parents. So not only does it look like I have an enjoyable family to work for ... but this will definately ease the budget strain.

Then ... several hours later ... the phone rang again. And a friend is almost certain she has found a home for our dog!!

Unbelievable!!! I would have never guessed the tides could turn the way they did. Amazing ...