Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's All Going According to Plan!

Fifteen hours of unemployment is the only storm I've had to face so far in my New Adventures of Career Swapping.

My day/job ended at 5:15 yesterday afternoon. I was hired before 8:30 this morning.

That was Phase One of (at least) a Two Phase plan.

Onward!!!!

Today ...

Today is the first day of the rest of my new life!!

After a week of second guessing myself, my decision, my future and my sanity ... I have arrived.

My last day of work was unceremonious, uncelebrated, uneventful and unworthy of much further conversation.

I did my absolute best to leave everything in as organized fashion as humanly possible. I left behind 16 pages of 'how-to' instructions and several 'cheat sheets' that I used throughout my work span. I tried to anticipate ways to make the next person's work a little easier.

I did as much as I could. I offered to help out during their transition - to help show a new person what I did or to help out with the monthly must-do items.

I tried. I truly and honestly tried. And I am done.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I came home to find that my Second Son and his entourage (his Girlfriend and their two dogs) had camping plans for the weekend.

I hovered around as they made their way out the door. I eventually made some supper. Then I started to clean.

It all started by sweeping the back door step. With the dogs gone for the weekend, I could sweep the straw (from their dog house) off the back step and sidewalk to prevent it from continually making its way into the house.

That is where I began.

I ended after the entire house felt fresh, clean, dusted, organized and ready to begin a new life.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I awoke this morning to a brand new world.

The house feels fresh and happy. My heart is full of anticipation. My stress levels are zero.

I have a job interview in one hour. It is not the-job-of-my-dreams. It is a job which could prove to be a most excellent way to transition into the life that I want to build.

I don't need, want or expect my expectations to be met immediately. I know that I have to walk the long walk, to get where I want to go. I plan to enjoy the scenery along the way. It is my hope that my destination simply becomes the arrival of new hopes and dreams.

Today ... is only the beginning.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friends in my Inbox

Life has gotten very, very quiet around here lately.

It is self induced. This much I know. I don't much like the thoughts that are swimming around in my head so I am hesitant to send off an email, pick up the phone or suggest getting together with people.

I am diligently keeping to my non-spending budget. There are numerous activities that have piqued my interest. But I keep telling myself "No!" This is cramping my style.

My Second Son and I have an easy rapport between us. Due to mutual stress levels that we are each facing in our own lives, the banter has declined to polite chit chat. We aren't chit chatters. We talk of stuff that is tangible and 'real'. It is very quiet within these walls at home without that sustaining conversation.

I didn't even have enough news to send my mom her weekly letter. I just about had to write a work of fiction so that I had something to send off by mid-week. She called last night due to the silence on this end. Neither of us had much new to report. So I suggested that we should go on an adventure together and create our own excitement. I think I heard a little bit of ''let me think on that for a bit'' in her voice.

What has been my saving grace?? Finding a friend in my Inbox first thing in the morning. I have had several emails scattered throughout the day/evening. But there is something unique about finding friendship greet me, as I greet the day. It has made the world of difference these past few mornings.

It has been a very long time since I've had a hard time getting up in the morning. I love mornings. I eagerly anticipate the day ahead and try to squeeze as much 'life' into the morning as I possibly can, before I must trudge off and face my responsibilities.

Not lately. I have (had) been utilizing that positive energy and directing it towards finding a new job. I needed to present the sunny side of myself towards my new life and goals. But my sunny side is overcast and gloomy these days. I am lost.

Then there are my friends.

I have a friend that is a cheer leader. She is full of energy and enthusiasm. She is contagious.

I 'found' my Anchorage friend awaiting me in my Inbox this morning. I was transported back in time to our recent visit.

I love that I can hear my friend's voices when they write. I can picture their expressions. I can see and hear the family members that they write of. I am not alone.

It really doesn't take much to make a person's day. Reach out and write/touch/call someone today. You'll never know what a difference you have made!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life Lesson #32441

Words are not coming easily these days.

I believe that the negativity that I am working feverishly to stifle, is hampering the flow of words out of my fingertips.

"What have I done??" is the question of the hour.

I gave my employer two weeks notice. Despite the many reasons why I know that I must resign, I cannot help but feel that I have betrayed them.

They don't have time to take a few minutes to explain a job that they want for me to do. How in the world will someone walk in off of the street, and be able to survive in this atmosphere?

I honestly thought that my last week of employment would have involved showing someone else what I do. I have two days of work left. It hasn't happened yet.

I read somewhere, that when someone exits your life ... ask yourself what they have added to your life.

In some cases, the notepad would be all but empty. This is not the case with my employer.
  • They hired me at a time when I desperately needed the income.
  • They were willing to take a chance on my inexperience and willingness to learn.
  • They paid me very well from the onset, despite my lack of hands-on knowledge.
  • I was rewarded with financial bonuses on several occasions.
  • They trusted me.
  • They allowed me the opportunity to work from my home.
I had a business/friendship arrangement with these people. It can be very hard when friendship is a factor in a business relationship. I tried on numerous occasions to sit down and discuss the situation at work. I proposed a meeting with them early last fall. Despite my initial attempts to follow up on this plan, it never happened. So yes ... I gave up.

When communication breaks down, you start a slide down a slippery slope. Even as a last ditch effort, I would fully appreciate sitting down and talking with these people. I feel that I could offer a perspective that may help. Heavens! I would even work on a part time basis for them, to help them through this transition. But they haven't talked to me. Not a word.

I honestly thought that my resignation would be an opportunity. Not an end.

This hasn't been a healthy situation for a while. But it started out as one. Working together, communication, flexibility and compromise could have saved what could have been a very good working relationship.

Hmmm ... I could be talking about one of my failed relationships.

It never ceases to amaze me, just how often life comes full circle. My own actions have come back to haunt me in more ways than one recently. I see, feel and admit my failings. I have been on the receiving end of what I have given others. It has not been pleasant.

This has been yet another one of life's lessons. The older I get, the more I realize that I have to learn. I will forever be a student in life. I am grateful for the lessons. I appreciate the perspective and opportunity to gain from whatever life tosses my way.

I just hope that I have learned these lessons well enough, so that I don't have to repeat this particular class!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This May be a Good Time To ...

As I tread into a future of unknowns, it feels like control over my life is slipping out of my hands. The only certainty is that of my finances.

When my financial future is threatened, I stop spending. I have bought groceries on an as-needed basis only. Take-out restaurant adventures have been capped. Frivolous expenditures have consisted only of paper for the printer so that I can print out resumes as needed.

As I gazed into our deep freeze which is becoming emptier by the day, I thought "This may be a good time to defrost the freezer!"

As I perused the contents of the cupboards and found boxes of Kraft Dinner, I thought "This may be a good night to have KD and HD (hot dogs) for supper!" The squeal of delight as My Youngest found out what was on the supper menu felt like I had earned a 'Mother of the Day' award.

As I laundered My Youngest's bedding (Batman sheets and comforter) that is now at least 11 years old, I thought "This may be a good time to bring out sheets-and-duvet-cover-from-the-past (from when my Second Son was growing up) and revamp My Youngest's room!" A 'retro' face lift. It looks wonderful!

As My Youngest started clearing out some of the excess that has accumulated on his dressers over the course of the past year (or more), I thought "This may be a good time to give this room a bit of an overhaul". Some decluttering, some reorganizing and a little bit of elbow grease and it looks like a whole new room.

Amount spent on the above items? $ 000.00

The best things in life are free. I am about to embark on some of the best that life has to offer. Because 'free' is most definitely allowed on this new and improved budget.

This may be a good time to examine all that I already have in my life. And revel in it ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Walking Into the Storm

I receive a daily inspirational email from Mountain Wings. This morning's message spoke directly to me.

The author wrote about the "words he was hearing in his spirit". He followed where those words took him, even though it was illogical and (most) anyone else would have looked back on his ill fated experience and shook their head in dismay. From the outside, looking in ... it would appear that nothing good came of heeding his own inner spirit.

But the message that came through loud and clear to the writer was:  "You have storms ahead but remember during the storms that I will be with you. I am the master of the storms and I am sending you into them, have no fear for I am with you."

Those were exactly the words that I needed to hear today.

Last week, I took a giant leap of faith.

I heeded the wisdom of my wise, all knowing inner voice and quit a job that is killing my spirit. I looked ahead and knew the path that I was meant to follow. I started forging my way.

I have been encouraged and I know without a doubt that this is 'my answer' ... but as of today, I am still free falling.

My last day of work is on Friday. I don't have a new job lined up. If I get the job that I have my hopes set on, there will not be a pay cheque for (possibly) two months.

The job that I have set my sights on will not pay my bills. I will need at least one more source of income.

I started making inquiries about that second job last week. I am hopeful (but not certain) that at least one of these opportunities will come come through for me (thus, I have sent out numerous other applications/resumes). I have been told that it could be mid-September before I hear from one employer ...

I am making it known that I am ready, willing and able to take on casual work. I have a one-day, biweekly job that sounds like a definite possibility. I have another potential opportunity to work (perhaps) once a week. I will continue to keep my eyes and ears open ...

The anxiety levels are starting to rise. But each day that I go into work and face the dynamics of that situation, I know that it was right to walk away from this job. My self esteem is plummeting and it is getting harder and harder to pump myself up to get myself through the rest of my life.

I cannot listen to my own thoughts lately.

I look at the family book-project that I am working on and I feel overwhelmed and inadequate. I fear that I will never come close to achieving the goals that I have set out for myself.

I have gone back to the Group Fitness course that I am one step away from completing. I am reading about what is required to achieve this final hurdle. And I ask myself "What were you thinking???" ... when I thought that I could achieve this goal.

I am dying inside.

Then I read this issue of Mountain Wings. I know with absolute certainty, that the choices that I have made are right for me. I am convinced that I am on the right path. Solutions are not unfolding quickly ... but in the time that I must wait, my convictions are growing stronger.

This is where I am meant to be right now. Walking into a storm. I have not faced the eye of the hurricane yet. I hope that it doesn't get that bad. I do have the feeling that it could get worse before it gets better. But it will get better. Of this, I am certain.

"I am the master of the storms and I am sending you into them, have no fear for I am with you."

Here is the Mountain Wings issue that I mentioned, recopied in full:

Master of The Storms
=============

"Ride your motorcycle today," were the words that I was hearing in my spirit. When God speaks, I do my best to heed the words.

I looked out of the window. It looked cloudy. It looked like rain and it didn't seem wise to ride my motorcycle.

I checked the weather report quickly on my computer. 80% chance of thunderstorms was the result. Not just rain - THUNDERSTORMS!

"Ride your motorcycle today," I heard again, this time clearer and more insistent. I've learned to listen to the voice even when it doesn't exactly agree with my logical sensibilities.

So I put my briefcase in the luggage box on the back, put on my helmet, cranked up and took off. As I left the subdivision it felt that the bike (a BMW RT1100) wasn't riding as smooth as normal. Was it just me or was the bike unbalanced?

A truck went by me and the driver blew the horn and yelled out the window, "You've got a flat tire on the back!"

I was halfway to the office. I stopped and looked at the back tire. I couldn't really get a good look at it while sitting on the bike but it wasn't completely flat, just flat enough to cause the bike to wobble slightly. So I slowly continued on to the office. I had not ridden the motorcycle in awhile so I figured the tire just lost air as the motorcycle was sitting.

I called my wife and asked her to drop off the portable air pump I keep in her van on her way to pick up the kids.

Then the rain came. It poured down. I looked out of my office window at the bike being drenched in the parking lot and thought that it needed a good washing anyway.

By closing time the rain had stopped and my wife had left the air pump on the bike seat. I pumped up the tire. As I turned the pump off I heard a slight hissing. I looked closely and saw that the tire had a nail or screw in it. It was a slow leak. I figured that I could make it home and patch it later so I cranked up and drove off. The sky looked dark and ominous.

Then the bottom fell out.

In 30 seconds I was absolutely drenched. I'm on 42 (Do42.com) so that meant no complaining about anything.

It was refreshing I thought and at least since I was thoroughly drenched, I absolutely couldn't get any wetter. I slowly drove along as thunder rattled my helmet. Lightning flashed every few seconds. It was as if I was in the maelstrom of angry winds, electricity and water.

The rain was so heavy that I could barely see. I was expecting lightning to strike around me at any moment because the thunder was a constant crack and rumble.

In the midst of all of that seeming mess, I heard Him speak, "You have storms ahead but remember during the storms that I will be with you. I am the master of the storms and I am sending you into them, have no fear for I am with you."

With a tire oozing air, a waterfall of water pouring over me, lightning flashing like police lights and thunder booming like canon fire, I rode on. I was aware of it all but completely at peace and unafraid. Oddly enough, I was quite comfortable.
I walked into the house dripping a steady stream of water.

"Look at you!" my wife and kids exclaimed.

"It was a magnificent ride," I said.

It was.
You have storms ahead but always remember those words spoken in
the midst of the storm.

"I am the master of the storms, have no fear for I am with you."

~A MountainWings Original~ from MountainWings.com

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Not Even Up To My Ankles

I spent the better part of yesterday working with my dad's family story.

I started collecting memories in December, 2008. I have travelled to visit my uncle in Ontario. I have driven down prairie roads and into the 'hills' to talk to various family members and neighbors. I have collected an assortment of information from a few of my aunts and my mom. I've sent email requests for memories.

And I have succeeded.

I have a myriad of conversations that I have transcribed into written form. I have a mish mash of arsenal in my possession to begin to create a book full of memories and stories.

All I have to do ... is put it all together.

Yesterday, I began the process of amalgamating this data into one document (instead of 15 ... plus notebooks full of transcribed conversations), insert appropriate photographs and cull through the tickle trunk full of memorabilia that has slowly amassed over the course of my research.

As I waded through my computer and box full of family memories, I heard the voices of the people that told those stories. I am so grateful that there is such a wide array of viewpoints.

This will be a story told by many. A book full of memories of 'Life as They Knew It'.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Searching for Light and Frivolous

I feel like a butterfly this morning as my mind is flitting all over the place.

I want to settle in and enjoy light and frivolous thoughts but my subconscious mind has other ideas. It is telling me that I have serious business to tend to before I can settle back and enjoy the ride.

My self confidence levels are waning. My cheery outlook on life is feeling rather drab and overcast. I need to talk with people but I don't want to cast this spell on anyone else ...

I wrote that sentence and then picked up the phone. It is amazing what a conversation with another human being can do for one's state of mind!

I need to find people ... life is far too quiet with only my own thoughts to keep me company!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Should Have Danced All Night

I could have went to a group dance class last night. But I didn't. Why????
  • I didn't feel like getting prettied up.
  • The couch looked too good
  • I was afraid that I may have to 'lead'
  • I didn't feel ... myself
I've lost a little bit of my 'happy' lately. The lack of dancing is a contributing factor - not because it is the only thing that makes me happy. But it is a big part of what brings contentment to my life.

The social contact, the music, moving and dancing. The easy camaraderie, the casual friendships. The dance studio is my 'Cheers' - it is the place where everybody knows my name.

I have been consumed with my financial situation lately. Quitting my job has most definitely not been the wisest choice for my financial peace of mind. Originally, my plan was to quit dancing for the summer. As I look into my crystal ball, I do not see dance lessons in my future.

Part of me is mourning. Another part is cheering me on, telling me "you have to find a way!!" There is yet another part of me that is reality-based and knows that I must cut back on spending. Dancing is a luxury item. It did not make it to the bills-which-must-be-paid-list.

This morning, I am kicking myself for not forcing myself out of the house last night. I needed to go to that 'happy place' and revitalize my sense of well being.

Part of me did not want to bring the 'me-that-I-am-right-now' into the dance studio. I want to have my feet firmly planted on the ground and know where I'm going, before I walk back into the world that brings me such joy. I didn't want to bring my cloud with me.

I'm still free-falling from that plane that I jumped out of on Monday. I haven't had the opportunity to open my parachute yet.

I should have taken a chance and danced ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Scribbles

I kept a scrap of paper that I scribbled on at the onset of the week of June 6th.

It started with words "End: June 30". This was to be my last day of work. I then calculated the calendar days that I would need after that date and wrote "Start (a new job): July 11".

I was at work at the time. My thoughts and frustrations were overwhelming me, so I kept that scrap of paper close by and sporadically scrawled the words that were churning inside of my head.

I calculated how much I needed to earn to pay my bills. I calculated how much I was presently earning. There was a shortfall.

I calculated how much I needed to borrow to pay my bills last year. I subtracted the bonus that I received from my employer. It covered half of the shortfall.

I scribbled down the issues that have been plaguing me at work. My exasperation at feeling that I had done something helpful, only to be shot down.

I folded up the paper and tucked it away.

On June 10th, I started searching for my next career.

I am one month behind schedule. My last day of work is July 29th. The start date of my next job is undetermined. At this moment in time, there is no 'next job'.

But I have hope.

I feel so strongly that I am on the right path, even though I have no idea where it will lead. I am following my heart. I am listening to that wise, knowing voice inside of my consciousness. I am taking a risk.

I have a plan and a clear vision of where I want to be.

I've done this before.

When I moved my young family to a brand new city to start a new life and remove us from a cycle that was detrimental to all.

When I set out to 'just be a mom' after My Youngest was born. There was something deep inside of my heart and soul that led me to believe that I could be 'just that'.

I've made bold choices in my life before. I'm doing it again.

It all began with scribbles on a piece of paper. The 'end date' of life-as-I-knew-it. The future is undetermined. But I am filled with trust and hope that all will work out better than I could have ever imagined.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You've Got to Know When to Fold 'Em

I have been walking a familiar path lately. It started out only vaguely reminiscent of something that I once knew. But as the road narrowed and took me deeper into the 'forest' ... there was a part of me deep inside that was telling me, "Get out!" When the logical side of my brain tried to talk me down, the quiet voice inside eventually started to scream, "Get out now!"
 .....

I have been in two serious relationships in my life.

Each time I entered into the new and fascinating wonder of falling in love, I felt happy.

When I am introduced to someone, I show them my best. Then, I immediately start pointing out my own flaws. When you are in a mutual place of 'falling in like', there is something rather magical about having someone disagree with your own self image (if that image is not positive).

Amazingly enough, if you stick with a person long enough and continue to tell them how awful you are ... they eventually start to agree with you.

It is when someone else starts pointing out 'that which I have told them' and flinging it back at me, that I finally regain my fight. I know that I am better than that. I can't hear that within my own thoughts. But when it comes back to me from someone else ... I fight.

My self worth has risen over the years. Amazingly, I am quite alone (as far as a relationship goes ... not in any other sense of the word) with my own contentment. I am good with that. I enjoy my own company. I enjoy the freedom that my life allows me. I am in a wonderful place.

Then there is work.

I have had many work relationships. I enter into a new work relationship much the same as I enter into a male/female relationship. I tell them how great I am so that they will hire me. Once hired, I admit all of my failings and struggle with the initial getting-to-know-what-I-need-to-know period.

This is where the similarity between my relationships in life and my work relationships end. With each and every job that I have had, I have had support, encouragement, training, feedback and a positive environment to get me past the insecurities and move onto a feeling of satisfaction.

Until my last job.

I will not get into any more details than to say that this work relationship is unlike any other that I have ever had. I have endured almost three years. Each year with the promise that "it will get better". Each year ... gets worse (in new and improved ways).

I went to school to broaden my horizons, so that I could take on new responsibilities at my job. I quit all of my other jobs so that I could devote myself to this one job.

My desire to work, learn, expand and take on more responsibilities has been thwarted at every turn. The option of attaining some of that satisfaction from a second job has been stomped out. I am dying inside.

I am feeling as low as I felt when I knew that I must walk away from my forever-relationships, in order to save myself.

I resigned from my position on Monday. I don't have another job lined up. I have an inner sense of knowing exactly what I want and need. I am on a path that may take me where I hope to go. I trust that everything will come together even better than I had anticipated. 
...

I knew when to walk away. I knew when to run.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Leap of Faith

Yesterday ... I jumped.

There is no net. I haven't landed yet. It is like I've jumped out of a plane and haven't opened my parachute yet. I'm still gazing at all of the possibilities.

I am hoping that my chute opens when I need it. I am trusting that it will.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Escaping Reality

"The Family Planner" is the title that my Oldest Sister recently used to describe my role in our family.

It's not a bad title, but as I immersed myself in the idea of planning a suggested family holiday, I started to feel as though I was losing myself in a fantasy world. Again.

We barely returned from our family reunion, when I booked an overnight getaway. That is still four weeks away. I could cancel it. But I don't want to.

Next weekend, My Oldest has (once again) booked us for a balloon ride. We shall silently waft through the air (provided all weather conditions are just right) and drift over Our Fair City ...

Today ... I must face another five day work week. And what song has been wafting through my head?? "Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer".

Which brings me to the crux of what is going on inside of my head. I want to be working from home. Or at a bare minimum, I want to have the same holidays that My Youngest has.

It has been just over four months since I was told that my work-from-home career was turned into a work-out-of-my-home job. I have been running ever since that news hit my ears.

I ran to Mom's when she wasn't well. First, for five days. Then, I returned for ten more. Fast forward a few weeks and I was back at Mom's for the Easter weekend. Three weeks after that, I spent a night away from home attending a family birthday celebration. One week later, I was headed to Alaska for twelve days. Home for ten days, then an overnight at a hotel to celebrate My Youngest's birthday. A week later, I was off for the day to attend a 50th anniversary gathering. A few weeks later, we camped out in My Hometown for their homecoming. To be followed by our own family reunion three days after that.

As my reality became that of a work-out-of-the-home-Mom, my head immediately fast forwarded to all of the plans that I had made prior to that knowledge. I had holidays booked and a family reunion planned. I had to stick it out at my present job at least as long as it took for me to get through those holiday plans.

That plan also forced me to stick it out for four+ months. That was good. I needed to give it my best shot. There are pros and cons of working out of my home. But the pros are not winning.

I look back at the harried days of running my daycare. It wasn't all fun and games. The days were long. The frustration levels could run high. But there were moments interspersed throughout each and every day that made it all worth it. I was home. I created a home within these walls that became the place I always wanted to live. I raised my own child and he knew what it was like to have a mom at home each and every day.

I miss those days. There is no going back. Only forward.

I know the direction that I want to go. I don't know how to get there. So I am planning fantasy vacations in my mind. I'm creating a better place. But it is not real.

I don't want to escape my reality. I want to make my reality the place that I want to be.

P.S. Hey! This is starting to sound like planning a vacation!! I can do this ...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

At One With the World ...

Sometimes, you just have to take a step away from it all.

As if I haven't had enough opportunities to escape the reality of my life lately, yesterday offered one more reminder of what is truly important in life. The moment you are living. The here. The now. Family. And nature ...

We spent the afternoon at a nearby lake. We watched (bushy tailed) gophers, dragonflies, butterflies and 'life' all around us.

video

Friday, July 15, 2011

Making the Best of Things

"Things turn out for the best,
for people who make the best of the way things turn out."
~John Wooden~

I love those words. They made me think of the backwards way that I look at life. 

Very often, I look at where I am and rewind the tape of my life to see if I can find the catalyst that set the wheels in motion to get me to 'where I am at'.

I cannot begin to count the number of times that heart ache and sorrow have led me to a better place than I started. The road is not direct or predictable. But when I get to the temporary destination of 'contentment', I can appreciate that I needed to travel that path to get to where I needed to go.

When our cat had fleas, being late for an appointment, illness, unexpected forks in the road, betrayal, loss and devastation in any way, shape or form ... each and every negative life event has led me to a better place in the end.

This week, I have focused on a change that I must initiate. I am torn. Because no matter how much I know that it is time to walk away and move on ... I can fully appreciate the benefits of all that I received along the way.

There is not one wasted moment in my life, when I look at it backwards. Each hurdle has been an opportunity to learn and gain the fortitude to leap higher over the next (inevitable) challenge.

"You can't always get what you want ... but you get what you need"
(as my much wiser, older sister has been noted singing to her children in times of want)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Questions

Can I lift 70 pounds on a continuous basis? Can I type 65 wpm? How can I utilize life experience and put it to work for me?

How can I be certain that a new direction is a better direction? What direction do I really want to go??

I am examining my self worth a lot right now. I am satisfied with who I am and what I've made of myself. Can I sell that package?

Will I be given any options? Or will this be a one shot deal? What if I make one choice and I'm offered another?

Thankfully, I don't have to answer any of those questions today. Today I have no answers. All I have is questions.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Transition

I don't even have a blog title in mind this morning. My head is swirling with thoughts. Mostly on transition. It is exhausting.

Last night, I fell asleep at the kitchen table while doing a crossword puzzle. I took one look at the couch and knew that was where I belonged. Three hours later, I woke up.

A three hour nap in the evening does not hamper my ability to sleep the rest of the night. After I awoke at 9:30 p.m., I wasn't even able to stay awake to watch the remainder of 'You've Got Mail' which was on TV last night (a movie that I know that I would enjoy, but I have never had the ability to remain conscious long enough to watch all of it).

I woke up this morning before my alarm. Today will be the day that I can function on all cylinders. All day long.

Waves of exhaustion keep trying to overtake me. I stayed awake throughout our reunion weekends. I managed to push through the exhaustion when I was at work. I have had enough to do after supper to keep me awake and moving. But last night? All bets were off. I slept. And it was good.

I wake up in the morning, knowing that I must use my early morning energy towards creating change in my life. I look at the options and am reminded of what I presently have. I could easily talk myself into staying in 'this place'. But the anxiety that I feel on a regular basis keeps me moving forward. Is there a way that I could modify my present situation into a workable one?

Solutions are not leaping out in front of me. I find myself searching for a suitable answer. The state of transition is not a place that I enjoy. It exhausts me.

Change is not easy. But sometimes, it is necessary.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Loose Ends

There is a lot of unfinished business racing around in my head right now. It is a wonderful place to be ... but it isn't terribly conducive to early morning writing. My thought processes are in a do and go mode, instead of a place where I sit back and reflect.

It is so exciting for me to look at the calendar and see months and months of empty spaces. I know that the days will be filled up as time goes along. But for the moment, I can see the horizon.

I see time and space to pursue that which I had only begun. I see the state of 'completion' in my future.

It's funny how much one can appreciate just how much one does have, when you open the door to look at other options. I am in that place right now. I am appreciating what I have instead of focusing on that which I lack. 

I've been here before. I am in a situation which is not all bad. If I focus on the positive, I could stay in this safe place and keep on trudging along. The reality, is that I am in a position which is slowly killing my spirit. I need to move myself out of the negativity and take a chance on something new.

It's one of those loose ends in my life that needs to be addressed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Window Through Which We Look

I am without time. I have lots of words, but none of them are blending into a cohesive unit. So today, I am posting someone else's words. Unfortunately I was unable to find the name of the author. But these words are not mine so someone else gets the credit.

This is a short reading from the non-denominational church service at our homecoming a few weekends ago. It made me laugh ... but most of all, made me think:

 A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.

The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young
woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

"That laundry is not very clean", she said.
"She doesn't know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the
young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:

"Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her this?"

The husband said, "I got up early this morning and
cleaned our windows."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others
depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Holiday is Over

Our family reunion weekend is wrapping up this morning. All that is left, is the packing up and final farewells. And the memories.

These past days have been fun and easy. The easy rapport among family. Laughter, support and encouragement. The give and the take, the yin and the yang. We speak a language that some may not understand ...

There is a quiet understanding among us. Few words mean a lot ... but far too often, we use an excessive amount of words to say very little (?!?) . A look, a glance or a simple comment can send us into gales of laughter or a sense of knowing what is going on beneath the surface.

Two reunion weekends back-to-back, has been a great way to kick start the summer. Now it is time to go home.

It is time to take back my life, my responsibilities and forge ahead. It is time to achieve some of those goals that I have set for myself. It is time to buckle down and get to work.

It feels like there has been nothing but fun in my life, these past few months. One event has been a springboard as it has launched into the next. It is with quiet relief that I look at my empty calendar for the rest of the year.

I am eager to return home and start carving the path that I need and want to follow. My heart and soul have been lifted up and I am rejuvenated with an energy source that wasn't there before.

The holiday may be over ... but it is with great anticipation that I am returning to life-as-I-know-it. I'm ready.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roughing It

Last weekend, we camped out at my Home Town Homecoming reunion. The camper we borrowed was perfect in every way. We had a roof over our heads, a comfortable place to sleep, cold water and washroom facilities.

This weekend, our family is gathering for our own little reunion. My siblings, Mom & I met yesterday. The nieces and nephews will join us for the weekend.

We booked this place because it had accommodations of every kind, a water slide, mini golf and a myriad of attractions in and around the city we are in.

My Brother's family of four; Mom; My Youngest & I have rented a mobile home for the duration. I had few expectations. I brought along cleaning supplies so that I could clean things up if necessary.

We walked in the door and were blown away. This is quite literally a home away from home. They have thought of absolutely everything. Not to mention Internet! Lucky for me, I brought along my handy dandy Netbook.

Yes, we are 'camping out' with family this weekend. Roughing it never looked so good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Support Where Needed

I have just returned from an appointment at my friendly, out-of-the-neighborhood podiatrist. That guy makes my feet so happy that I could dance!

Today's ailment was different from my Zumba-related foot troubles. The corns and calluses from my running shoes are not a problem (since I haven't been wearing my runners, due to a severe lack of exercise and Zumba-fun). My troubles originated from dancing this time ...

Long story short, my bunion is most likely causing me to place undue pressure on my metatarsals ... and now it hurts to walk on the balls of my feet without padded footwear.

My troubles were alleviated by placing padding at the base of where it hurts, to give my metatarsals support. He warned me that padding placed under the area that hurts would only add extra pressure. I need support - not padded protection on the area that is hurting.

As it is with life. Often ... we simply need support. We don't need to be padded from life's blows. We need support from time to time to help us build up our inner reserve and persevere.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

If I Follow This Road ...

Yesterday was one more day where I sat down with the realization that I am not where I am meant to be.

I am in a job where my desire to learn, work to my potential, achieve and organize my days in a fashion where I can accomplish a lot within the time frame I am given ... is being thwarted at every turn.

I feel defeated and beat up. I am done.

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Life is funny. My eyes are opening to the clues that I have been provided with. All I must do is follow the path that I am being drawn towards.

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Our home town reunion. I lived and breathed family and community throughout the duration of the weekend. My heart and soul were nourished. I know that I will sit down and get busy on my dad's family memories and story within the week. I want to do this. I need to do this. I will do this. I will follow my heart and complete this.

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Yesterday morning, I had to wait one hour for an appointment. One hour. I haven't waited that long for an appointment since ... I can't remember when.

There were magazines to read. I didn't grab one. I chatted with the lady beside me. I sat still with my thoughts. And I waited.

Finally ... at the end of that hour, I did grab a magazine. What should I find on the cover when I finally picked up something to read? Zumba-inspired exercises. I flipped directly to the page and thought to myself: "It is that easy ... just look and you will find what you need to know to complete your Group Fitness class!"

Within five hours ... who should I run into? A girl from my Group Fitness class who has completed the final hurdle. What did she tell me? "Just do it!" I will. I must. This will open a door that I have voluntarily closed. It is time to finish what I started.

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An email from a friend with a job that she spotted online. I was busy and my head was full of other thoughts when I returned from the weekend and found her email. This morning? It came sharply into focus. At first glance, I didn't think that this would be the job for me (not a full time position). But after yesterday, I have reconsidered. Two jobs could work ...

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It is time. Life is giving me a lot of clues as to the paths which are available. All I have to do is follow the road and see where it leads.

Monday, July 4, 2011

You Can Go Home Again

Our family moved away from our community when I was nine years old. The visits back home were most frequent the first year after we moved. Our house on the farm was still 'home'.

Eventually, all of our belongings were moved out of that house and it was rented out. And so began the slow realization that our home now belonged to someone else.

Trips back home began to mean sleeping over at My Sister's home (she was a newlywed when we moved out of province). Sleepovers at My Sister's home helped to make up for the loss of our home on the farm.

I was quite young when I stopped returning home with my parents. My life, my friends and my future were in our new province. I was painfully shy and finding it harder and harder to go back.

The years went on and my trips back home became few and far between.

I was 26 years old when Mom and I returned home together for a visit. Little did I know that trip would be a catalyst of a Time of Great Change for me.

At that time, I was pregnant and living in an abusive relationship. All of my friends were the wives of my husband's friends and family. Each and every one of us was living in a dysfunctional situation. Our friendships were forged out of a shared source of pain. I looked at those friends and I felt like the lucky one. Each of them were dealing with something far worse than me.

Then I came 'home'.

I was surrounded by the goodness of my family. My present-day life came into focus. I privately vowed to myself never to return home again. I saw the contrast between 'life as it could be' ... and 'life as it was'. If I was going to honor my vow " 'til death do us part" ... I could not bear to witness this other (healthy) side of life.

Little did I know at the time, that less than one year later I would pack up my children and head back 'home'.

We moved to a city which was one and a half hours away from our home town. I had cousins in the city and an aunt and uncle that I could call on, if necessary. I didn't call.

My little family built a new life in our New City. Friendships are not built in a day. But a solid foundation was being laid for the new friends that would enter my life and never leave.

Ever so slowly, my heart and soul healed. I was raising my children during this evolution. Life was not perfect, but it was returning back to the healthy environment in which I was raised.

The bonds between my siblings and my mom have always been strong and true. But they were fortified and they have flourished throughout the years since I moved my family back 'home'.

I continued to see cousins, aunts and uncles as a distinct and separate entity from myself. It was as though I was on the outside, looking in. I would have liked to become part of that circle but I still struggled with the courage it takes to make those forward steps.

Five years ago, I returned to our home town for a Homecoming reunion. Five years ago, a seed was planted which changed the course of my life. Five years ago, my mom found two of my cousins and an old friend. She gathered us together at a table and we visited as though a lifetime hadn't elapsed since we last talked.

Little did I know, the chain of events initiated by that moment would alter the course of my life, my thinking, my confidence and my being. Five years ago ... I started to come home.

This past weekend, our home town held another reunion. I walked into the weekend with high hopes but few expectations. I arranged it so that I could stay for the entire weekend. The first night, I went to bed and thought "What have I done??"

It takes a lot of energy to initiate and hold a conversation with someone that I don't know well. I felt the 'quiet me' taking up residence in my body. I kept pushing that shy girl to the side and moved forward. But I couldn't go back to my home in the city to build up my reserves for the next day. How could I do this for three days without that fortification that I get from being within my own safety zone in my home?

Fast forward to the end of the third day at our reunion.

The weekend was wound up with a non denominational worship service on Sunday morning. The hall was full to capacity. Surrounded by friends and family, we paid tribute to our community, our forefathers ... to the past, present and future.

My heart was full. Me. The stoic one. Had a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit as the music spoke to my soul. Tears leaked out of my eyes as I allowed the emotions to surface. Each and every person who sang, spoke or contributed to the service defined the community which I proudly call home.

I am a part of this community. A very, very small member at large. But this is where my roots are. I tentatively stepped into this weekend feeling like I didn't really belong here. I walked away three days later ... knowing that without a doubt ... that I could go home again.

I'll be back ...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Home Town Connections

This weekend is something that I have been quietly anticipating for the past five years. Since the last time I was 'home' ...

Five years ago, I returned to our home town for a Homecoming Reunion. I drove into town, expecting nothing more than to hang out with my own family and maybe see a few relatives. Little did I know at the time ... that weekend would change the course of my life.

I felt so comfortable ... so at home, that I returned for the second day. I reconnected with a friend ... and I ended up going on an Alaskan cruise with her (almost) five years later. The past started to meet up with my future that weekend.

That weekend started to bring my life into focus. It was the beginning of something that needed to be nurtured within me. The nine year old child in me (I was nine years old when our family moved to Alberta) finally came 'home' again.

Since that time, I have rerouted my life. I have nurtured, watered and tended to my 'roots'. My past, my heritage and my family are now a great part of my life.

This weekend ... I get to go 'home'. Again.