Thursday, March 31, 2016

One Bored Kitty = Trouble (Updated)

Our not so little cat "Jet" is bored out of his mind. He really, really wants to go outside to watch the birds, follow his curiosity and go wherever he wants to go. But he can't. So he is following his curiosity and going wherever he wants to go inside instead.

Our not so little black cat has not only learned how to open closet doors and shed his lovely black coat of hair within, but he has discovered how to open the kitchen cupboards as well.

Most of our cupboards have child locks on them but the corner cupboard doesn't have a lock. How Jet discovered the "one out of five", I'll never know. He must check out his options at night. But he has figured out how to play in the cupboards. Joy.

When he disappeared entirely, I opened the cupboard door and couldn't even see him because he had tucked himself into the back corner of the cupboard, on the Lazy Susan (I was just able to get this blurry shot of him as he made his dash for freedom).

I bought him a bag full of cat toys while I was away this past weekend. Nothing for my son or for me. Just a bag of interesting looking cat toys (mostly) for this bored little cat of ours. 

He comes outside when I take the kids out and sticks around the yard pretty good. He does have to be coaxed to stick within our property line but he hasn't been making a mad dash for it when we (I) try to catch him. But the season is young. This guy has such an adventuresome spirit that I can't imagine him being content within such a small space for long.

Thankfully he is scared of people, bikes, skateboards and anything that makes a noise he isn't familiar with. When he hears any of the above, he makes a bee line for the back door and his heart is pounding like he's running for his life.

Oh, how I would love to get some new cupboards. Can you imagine the conversation that would take place as I placed my order? "They have to be cat and kid proof, and able to withstand a cat trying to open them."

We should be getting our new back doors within the next few weeks. A new inside door and a storm door, both doors will have lever handles (the type of handle our bored little cat has mastered on the front door). I have a feeling our cat will soon be letting himself out to play. We'll have to be sure we have a cat-proof door lock.

More adventures to follow ...

Six hours later:

We took our bored little cat out into the back yard with us this morning. I know he has his eye on that which is outside of our back yard but he found the next best thing. He climbed the playground structure and managed to find his way onto the "roof" so he could do some bird watching.

Can you find a cat peeking out of the trees?
Then he did a little spying on the neighbors too. 

I left him up in the "tree house" while I brought the kids inside, hoping he wouldn't make a dash for it and climb the tree or jump out of the back yard. You'll never guess where he was when I went to check on him ten minutes later. Standing at the back door with a worried look that said, "You forgot me!" Maybe he isn't so adventureous after all.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Living a Distracted Life

I returned from a three day weekend at my mom's to a phone and computer full of messages to return. I had one phone message, two text messages, one email, one Facebook message and had to initiate two other "conversations".

For the sake of simplicity, I decided to send off one message to two sisters. That seemed the most time effective, least intrusive and expedient way to pass along the message Mom wanted me to tell them. Mom would be aghast that I did not pick up the phone and call. Please don't tell her.

This set off a flurry of follow up texts as I "conversed" with each of my sisters at the same time. At the same time this was going on, I also texted one of my daycare parents telling her it would be fine if she brought her son to daycare the next day. We also conversed via text a few times before we put an end to that conversation.

I had one text, inviting me to phone the next afternoon at 5:30. Before I knew if I was free at 5:30, I actually had to pick up the phone and talk with my bookkeeping boss to confirm our plans to work the next day. When it was decided that "yes" we were working, I told her I was going to make a call first and I would be slightly delayed. Whew! Two decisions made with one conversation. I had one more text to send though.

Then came an invitation to go see a movie I wanted to see. The movie listings only went up to Thursday so could I "commit" to seeing a movie after having to work one night this week? Tough decision. Finally I found the words to say "yes" to the movie, but maybe we could see if a Sunday matinee would be a viable option when they listed the upcoming weekend's schedule.

I barely made that monumental decision (all of these "yes" or "no" and commitments and conversations falling upon my shoulders the minute I got home felt harder than they needed to feel) when another friend contacted me about attending an upcoming concert to see one of our favorite singer/songwriters. "Tickets go on sale on Friday!", but the event doesn't take place for two more months so that was a much easier "yes".

I walked in the door at approximately 5:30. I sent off my first text at 5:39 p.m. and made my last outbound contact at 8:49 p.m. Three hours of "conversations" with seven different people with need to make five decisions tapped out the last of my resources and I was more than ready to call it a day at the end of it all.

I find it so hard to say "Yes!" to life these days. It is even harder at the end of three days away from home. But I did it. I said "Yes!" to all five invitations, requests and suggestions. And it was good.

How did we do this back in the day when we relied solely on a telephone to communicate? I had four text message conversations going on simultaneously, with half written responses to two other people going on in my head at the same time. The only person who got my undivided attention was the person I talked with on the phone. Is it any wonder that my mom is exasperated with those who can't sit still and focus on ONE conversation, with ONE person without a blasted cell phone in their pocket that is driving them to distraction?

My mind was all over the map and I couldn't wait to shut down and turn off all means of communication. I'm grateful it was so easy to reach out to so many, make many decisions and have conversations that needed to be had. But now that I sit still with all of that "noise" of those three hours of my life, I feel badly for butting into line in too many people's lives.

Emails seem "polite". People read and respond to them when they have time. They are a little bit like an unopened letter sitting on the kitchen table waiting patiently for the recipient to have time to sit still and enjoy the visit when it works for them.

I used to think a telephone was rude and intrusive. You drop everything when the phone rings. Not so much these days. With call display and answering machines, it is becoming easier to "take a message and get back to you later".

But cell phones and texting? I know I should give them the same priority as an email but I can't. A text message invites an immediate response. Unless I'm driving, I usually heed that call. I am as disgusted in myself as my mom would be if she knew the extent that blasted little phone runs my life.

It is good to be "connected". But at what cost? I barely spoke to my son and acknowledged our cats when I got home from a three day absence. Granted, my son made the first move and headed downstairs with his supper. I assume he was in the middle of an "important" on-line game, which has become a priority far too much of the time. But who am I to judge? Look at the example I am setting.

I'm grateful I am not shying away from technology but it has crossed a line. It has become all too consuming within my life. I am the only one who can make the decision to turn off or ignore those little beeps and twirps and whatever other noises that phone makes to distract me from the moment I'm living in.

I would go and turn off that little attention grabber right now, if it wasn't the preferred method of communication within all of my daycare families. I'm glad our land line phone isn't ringing off the hook but that has come at a cost. The question is what is the price of an undistracted conversation these days? It has become a precious commodity.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Feeling Watered Down

I read this quote from a guy who lives in the 16' box truck and writes a blog about it. I am mesmerized by the concept of "living small' and I think this quote sums up why I crave to simplify my life:

"I don't enjoy being busy. I enjoy creating fulfilling work to do, but having too many things going on in my life only dilutes how much of myself I'm able to put into each one." ~ Thoughts From Inside the Box

His words nailed it on the head for me. I do not enjoy the state of busyness. A sense of purpose? Definitely. The feeling of accomplishment? Yes. Enough to do to appreciate the luxury of doing nothing? Absolutely. Being busy? No.

"Creating fulfilling work." Yes. Yes! And YES! As daunting and overwhelmed as I feel when I'm in over my head doing something that matters, it fuels me when I'm doing something that creates a sense of purpose and belonging. It is a little bit like being in the middle of a good novel. You open a book not knowing if you are up to following through and reading until the end. Then you get to the middle and you can't wait to turn the next page. You are on the edge of your seat (or couch or whatever). Then it ends. Yes, I would like to live a life that feels like I'm "living in the middle of a chapter", doing something that matters to me.

"Having too many things going on in my life only dilutes how much of myself I'm able to put into each one." Oh. My. Gosh. YES!! I don't feel like I'm doing anything "right" or "enough" or with passion these days. I just sleep-walked (slept-walked??) through the last week trying to knock too many things off of my eternal to-do list. I got to the end of a day and wondered if I had absorbed any one minute and revelled in it. It was a terrible way to live a week. Yes, I accomplished most of what I had set out to do. But I was miserable while stuck in the mire of that particular chapter of my life. Blech! Last week is not the week I want to be remembered by.

I have done more "impossible things" around the house this morning than I feel like I've done in a month. But I have done so with a purpose and a goal. My second son is headed over and I have about an hour and a half left to do what I want to do. Then I'm going to walk away from all responsibility and live my weekend in the moment. I hope.

That is my goal. To clear the clutter of my life off  my plate this morning and be where I want and need to be this weekend.

Signing off for now. I'll see what words find me as I get quiet and centered. I'll be back!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

When Watering a Plant Becomes Too Much

You know you are over extended when even your plants seem too needy. I looked at those two thirsty pots of need and walked away to water them another day. Another day never came.

There just doesn't seem to be enough of "me" to go around lately. When ten to eleven hours of the weekday are spent watching over one to three year olds, there is rarely a chance to sit still in the sun and soak in the day. Somebody always needs something. If they don't, I need to be utilizing those moments where I find them in order to provide food, order and structure within our day. My Fitbit tells me that I put on about 10,000 (usually more) steps per daycare day. This explains why I wear out socks so fast but it also justifies why nothing else seems to get done during my week. Those little people eat up a lot of my energy.

I feel better when I push myself out and mingle with adults throughout the week but doing so takes away from the time I need for "me" and sleep. It is a slippery slope. I don't even want to talk at the end of my day, let alone leave the house. Friendship is so vital to nurturing one's soul. But it is an investment that also takes time and energy from a day that has already gone on for soooo long.

Then there is my Saturday employment. I see no way out, so I focus on what it brings into my week. I use a different part of my brain, I'm helping a friend, I do get paid for my efforts and I finally found a way to work "getting groceries" into a week that is never long enough. I stop for groceries on my way home, pick up sub sandwiches for supper, come home, put everything away then I reward myself with my sub. "All the hard stuff is done! Now I can relax..."

Except, if I want to get anything done at all around the house I cannot afford to fritter away too many Sundays. I take what I need, when I need them but when I spend an entire Sunday working at that which must be done, I am completely depleted when I wake up to a new week the next morning.

The to-do list never ends. In fact it rarely even starts because it is too disheartening to write down what needs to be done when you don't ever get the satisfaction of stroking everything (or anything) off of the list. So I now make "piles". The reading pile, the dream notebook, that which I need to do or file away pile, the income tax pile, the writing pile ...

And then there are (were) the plants. "You want something from me too?? Well get to the back of the line, buster! You can just sit there and wait."

People say plants usually suffer from too much watering. Not in this house, they don't. I used to water the plants on Fridays. Then I would forget on Friday and do it when I remembered the following Monday or Wednesday. Then when the new watering day should have been Wednesday, it got pushed back until Friday again. Then Monday or Wednesday and so on and so forth.

Finally, my plants went two weeks without water. They even had the nerve to thrive throughout their drought. And I neglected to water them when the second Friday rolled around. Or the Monday or Wednesday following that. By the time Thursday rolled around I thought "I don't want these plants and they won't die!" So I put them up for adoption.

Thankfully my second son was willing to take on these plants which had a history. My sister-in-law (his aunt) gave them to us twenty three years ago. They have never been repotted, fertilized or nurtured in any way other than their weekly shot of water. Yet they survived and thrived this neglect.

When my son said he would take them off my hands, I felt the same relief when our poor, neglected dog found a home where he would be wanted, loved and get the attention he deserved. Finally! A good home for our plants.

What is going on when watering two plants once every week or so becomes too much?? I am now wondering what else is dispensable around here. My youngest son better watch out! (just kidding)

Snow, Snow Go Away

We have had a lovely blast of "winter" the past few weeks. It was not unexpected, but it was hard to go from this:

to this:

But yesterday, it was warm enough to make this:

So maybe I won't complain. Because it could be so much worse. 

When life hands you snow, be grateful for the days when you can make a snowman.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Purging my Morning Thoughts (a blog post about nothing)

I start each day with the best of intentions. I have set my alarm for 5:00 a.m., which almost guarantees I'm out of bed by 5:30 but I have had several 5:00 a.m. mornings lately. The gift of that extra half hour is a wonderful way to start my day.

That bonus half hour gets swallowed up into the day so fast I don't know where it went. But it's gone. That half hour is supposed to buy me the time to do all I need to do for "me" before my daycare day begins. Every morning I do my best to have life neatly tucked away before the door opens. Then the door opens early. Or it snows. Or I'm folding that load of laundry I had time to do. Or I'm finalizing a blog post and racing to the finish line. The more time I have, the more I think I can do and I still feel like I'm running behind.

So I (eventually) grab my cup of coffee and settle in on the couch and think I will do nothing but absorb the wonders and stories and conversations of my little daycare crew. It works for all but a minute.

The minute I sit down, one of several things happens: a nose needs to be wiped; someone needs something from me; I see something I should be doing; we should go outside; the whole crew sits down beside me; a parent will text me; someone needs to go to the bathroom or be changed; it is time to start preparing for a meal; or I will distract myself and realize there is "one more thing" I should do before I forget. My "sitting on the couch and inhaling the day" moments last as long as a soap bubble before it bursts all over my face.

Yesterday it was my income taxes. They are haunting me in a big way this year. I thought the way to take that worry off my plate was to give it to someone else. "Give" is probably not the correct word to use because I don't think they will consider this a gift, thus some money must change hands. But it will be worth every penny for my peace of mind.

So I made one quick call and my wish was granted. "Just bring your prior two years income taxes with you, along with a print out of your expenses." Easy enough. I had just worked through those papers a few days ago and all the numbers and revisions were done. All I had to do was print them off. Except I had made one little mistake, so in my haste to correct my error and print off my work I made a few more mistakes. Then I wanted to ensure my paperwork was neat and easy to follow, so I revised and printed and revised and reprinted and revised and reprinted some more.

While I was in the mood for calling professionals to do do my dirty work, I thought I should make an appointment to redo my will. That did not go according to plan. I thought an appointment with a will and estate planner at my financial institution would do the trick. But no, it wouldn't be that simple. Nor do the hours coincide with mine. I will have to find another way, another time.

I started writing up my daycare newsletter during our quiet time. I had completed the first draft of what I was going to consider good enough and then I received a text from one of my parents, which changed some of my "Comings and Goings at Daycare" news. Which is good and bad. Good, because I was feeling a little bit stressed over taking on this child temporarily. And there was really no "bad" side to it. I had tentatively written this income into my budget but I don't think I even gave it a dollar value. I bought new back doors based on another child who didn't end up coming and "this" was supposed to replace "that" income. But it all works out in the wash. So no, there is really no bad side to this. I am somewhat relieved. Except I have to rewrite part of my newsletter now.

I have columns to submit and I'm running out of time. Just as I have run out of time once again this morning. Here is to hoping today has enough quiet moments within it to do my job the way it is supposed to be done. "In the moment." One sure has to plan for those "in the moment" moments, don't they?

Monday, March 21, 2016

What a Difference a Day Can Make!

Take one part inspiration and learning ("Thanks Brené Brown!"), combined with five parts income tax and numbers (I don't mind numbers once I sit down and start playing with them, I simply prefer "letters" these days), add a little nourishment for good measure (finally all the week's leftovers are gone!), take a drive with your son (it is kind of fun being in the passenger seat for a change!), add one more part of the income tax/number combo, then top it all off with a little "Brené Brown" finale (her Ted Talk on shame is hilarious and thought provoking, but watch her Ted Talk on vulnerability first. It sets the stage for what is to follow) and you have my "yesterday".

I was determined not to waste the day, so I got up at 6:00 a.m. and refused to allow myself to turn on the TV. The second thing I would not allow myself to do, was to get lost on the Internet. I could dabble with intent, but I could not get lost. That proved to be a winning combination.

I had so many time consuming items on my to-do list and I knew I needed to fill up my positivity and inspirational well. So I started with the "Living Brave" class I am taking (lead by my current new hero "Brené Brown"). I was completely overwhelmed with the fist lesson of the second half of the class. There were three chapters to read and thirty five questions to be answered, It took me forever. But I finally completed that task, posted my answer to the last question of that assignment as a blog post here, watched her Ted Talk on vulnerability and moved on.

Then came the numbers. I had so many number puzzles to solve and unravel. I went to an accountant to learn all I could learn about what I could and could not deduct and how to calculate my "Business Use of Home" percentage. This knowledge was frightening because I had not used this formula nor some of the proper deductions in the two years which have preceded this one. So of course, I wanted to go back two years and recalculate my daycare deductions to see how much of a mess I was in. Thus, the procrastination.

Long story short, I under-claimed my expenses the first year and over-claimed them the second. I under-claimed more than I over-claimed and I didn't claim all of my expenses in the year preceding the year I claimed too much. I have all of my receipts and spreadsheets and was able to reconstruct the years and work on the current year within the space of an afternoon. So I have all the information ready and waiting if it is ever questioned. This was a huge relief for me. Huge.

There is no way I could have squeezed that project into the cracks of my week. When it comes to numbers, I like to sit down without distraction or interruption and work through the puzzle from beginning to end. I had one small mystery to do with my current year's income tax but came back to that after a leisurely Sunday drive with my son and the answer was staring me in the face. Sometimes one does have to walk away and come back later.

After that, I did the "hard part" of Mom's taxes, checked and re-checked my numbers and was satisfied that I had done all I could do. Then I sat down with my good friend Brené and shared some perspective, some good laughs and words that left me thinking.

When all was said and done, I accomplished a lot. There is much left to do but a weekend of "doing" has energized me ten times more than a weekend of "doing nothing". I filled myself up with what I needed. I nourished myself with (relatively) healthy food, positive thoughts and ideas, I unravelled a few mysteries and I put the work I dread the most in the "done" pile. All I can say is "Whew!"

Now, I just have to check out this new concept I just heard last week. The whole idea of "Spring Cleaning" has been rather elusive to me the past very long while. I took on the task of decluttering and wiped and swiped my way through that. But what if I stopped worrying about the clutter and just cleaned away the dirt? Now that is an idea I think I can sink my teeth into.

If only I had another Sunday. I've said it before and I'll say it again. One day is simply not enough.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

What Was Your Fall or “Face Down” in the Arena Moment?

I am working on my "Daring Greatly" course this morning and I have come to the end of this week's lesson. This was the question that was asked and my answer that follows. I still shake when I think of this "Face Down" in the arena moment.  I have been invited to put this moment down so I can explore it throughout the remainder of this course. My fingers flew over the keyboard and I wrote this without stopping. It is an issue that rises to the top of my consciousness more often than I care to admit. These "shaking in my boots" moments are important. Just thought I'd share my story today. Here it is:


The moment of my fall was being "called into the principal's office". It was the nightmare of my whole entire life to that point. It was the moment when all of the fears, insecurities and "I think they are talking about me" came true. It was my call to action moment and I wasn't prepared.

I knew it. I just knew it was coming. I could feel it in the electricity in the air all around me when I worked in that office. Never, ever in my life had I ever felt so unsupported and alone. I tried to find and make allies within those who were walking the walk with me and I thought I was succeeding. Until "the leader of the pack" walked back into the office. Then absolutely everything changed. Everything.

When I couldn't find alliances within my own surroundings, I started looking outside the "box" of that office and make positive connections within the other staff members. And there were lots! I commented on the positives, I was determined to stay optimistic, I was determined to rise above the tensions within that office.

I was working WHERE I wanted to work. I could walk to work, the hours were good, all I needed was the security of a full-time position and I was "exactly where I wanted to be" within my work-world. I just had to overcome this ONE obstacle. I would have done anything ...

Then I got called into the principal's office. My deepest sense of knowing KNEW this couldn't be good. But I wasn't expecting it when it came. "You will not pass your probation period if you stay in this office. You have a choice. You can resign from this position and go on the substitute list. Or you can stay and you WILL NOT pass your probationary period and you will lose your job here."

There was no strategy involved. There was no invitation to tell my side of the story. There was no conversation. I was given a choice. Quit or be fired.

I stumbled and told my story. I knew this was coming but I didn't. I had written down the scenarios that preceded my fall. I had been to counselling. In the end, the counsellor could not tell me anything I didn't already know about "dealing with my feelings". I needed a crash course in survival and as I was walking out her door, she said "Write everything down. Write dates, details, incidents. Write it all down and keep it with you."

I offered my "evidence" to the principal and all he said (and these words still ring in my ears today - four years and five months later), "I was hoping it would not come to this ..."

The principal! The "leader" of an entire high school that was fraught with challenging situations and students and scenarios, did NOT want to confront the issues right in his own front office. HE LET ME DOWN!

I was two months into my brand new "career" and I could go down one of three ways. I could resign from that position and fight to regain my footing within this (now) ever-changing landscape of being called to a new school (potentially) every day OR I could quit altogether OR I could fight this. How can one fight something so big and so tall and so terrifying when I was two months into a new position and had not built a reputation to make my "side of the story" a believable one? If it came down to a "she said", "she said" battle I was almost certain I would lose.

So I went on to fight another day. I worked the rest of the year trying to recover from that fatal blow that was dealt October 19, 2011. It is four years and five months later. Writing these words still makes me weak in the knees. It was the harshest blow life ever dealt to me and I still wonder if I did the right thing.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Try, Try Again

I just don't have enough words to share between two blogs these days, so I've been focusing on the one which I have "commitments to meet" and my aim is to try and fill this blog space with words that are left over.

I start writing and then I have to walk away and tend to "life", never to return. I am running behind on my "Daring Greatly" (Brené Brown) course again, so I have been stealing time from the morning to work on that.

I had three very early daycare day mornings last week. I went to bed before the birds more often than not so I could support my waking at 5:00 a.m. habit. So evenings have been a wash as well. Those early morning daycare days did not bode well for writing either.

I walked into this week feeling full and fulfilled. By Thursday, I was running on empty. I wrote a little blog about it over at

Please join me there and I'll be back here just as soon as words and time co-ordinate their schedules and get back to me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Attitude of Gratitude

My fixation on gratitude seems to have brought about a sensitivity to finding "gratitude quotes" and inspirational thoughts at every turn. It's funny how when you focus on all that you have, you notice less of what is missing. And in the process, I seem to have found "my happy" right along with it.

I wrote a little blog about it at today. Please join me there.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday's Motto

After a most frustrating Friday, I have been wandering around this morning getting the house "daycare ready" and found myself chanting to myself "Don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff." and "Engage, enjoy and seek the positive".

I can't, nor do I need to, figure out how each of these little guys work. I just have to work with the day as it unfolds. One moment at a time. When I break my days into moments, there are many moments worth celebrating.

That's it. After filling myself up with positivity yesterday, I am up and ready to face the day ahead of me. One. Moment. At. A. Time.

May you have a momentous Monday!!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Inspirational Input = Inspirational Output

I made a promise to myself at the onset of this weekend. I would only allow myself to tune out the world and turn on the TV if I watched something uplifting and inspirational. I have almost succeeded in that goal (a little Home & Garden Network "fix" was required).

I had taped "The Lois Wilson Story - When Love is Not Enough". It is the story of Bill and Lois Wilson, the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. Attending Al-Anon meetings changed the course of my life and the way I reacted to it. That small "One Day at a Time in Al-Anon" book was my bible and guided me through and beyond some of my darkest days. It impacted my life.

Even though it seemed rather coincidental that I chose to watch it first, it seems rather symbolic now that I look back on my choice of media input this weekend.

Al-Anon truly changed me. When people talk of some of the qualities they see in me, there are a lot that come from inhaling, living and breathing those words at a time when I didn't know which way to turn. Yes, family, friends, circumstances and hereditary all play a part in who I am but none of those came with a guidebook. Finally I had something to have and to hold with an index in the back to take me to exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time.

My only regret is giving away my little guidebook to sanity, though I had memorized most of what I needed to know to persevere. Life went on and so did I. I had a solid foundation to move forward from where I was with or without my little Al-Anon bible.

I have always been drawn to inspirational quotes, words and poems. I have a file folder full of "inspirational words" I have collected along my way. But the next time a book truly changed my life was a time when I didn't even get the actual book. What I received was even better than that. It was a daily calendar with quotes and inspirational words from the book "The Secret".

I knew I used those quotes as a catalyst for many of my blog posts so I searched this blog to see if I could pinpoint an actual date. Why does it surprise me that I received that as a Christmas gift in 2007 and my first blog post was dated December 29, 2007?

If you have Netflix, I highly advise that you stop reading this right now and watch "The Secret". Then again, maybe not. Put this on your to-do list for a time when you have an hour and a half to spare and you feel open and receptive to listening to some rather powerful suggestions, quotes and ideas. I thought of almost every person in my life as I watched this. Whether you're in a "ground zero" state and restarting your life from the rubble or dealing with relationship issues, a personal crisis, health issues or almost anything anywhere in between, there is something for everyone.

I scribbled down quotes throughout the entire documentary. 95% of them were quotes I have quoted within this blog. Now that I realize that this blog was inspired at the time I was reading these quotes, it is quite likely not a coincidence. But I keep finding and rereading these quotations and they speak to me in different ways on different days.

I can understand a sceptic watching this, believing it's a bunch of malarkey. Perhaps there are some far fetched ideas but there are more that are based on what we know to be true.
  • "What you think about, you bring about" 
  • "All that we are is a result of what we have thought" ~ Buddha
  • "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions" ~ Albert Einstein
  • "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step" ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "What you resist persists" ~ Carl Jung
  • "Energy flows where attention goes" ~ James Redfield
As I watched "The Secret" portray a person's a day spiralling out of control with one small annoyance after another getting all the focus, my last frustrating day replayed before me like a movie reel. I knew as I was living it, that I wasn't doing a very good job at being my "best self". In fact, my exact words at the end of it all were: "I like nothing about how I handled things, who I was or how I coped. It was hard but my rotten attitude made things ten times worse than they needed to be."

It's easy to be positive and uplifting when you are on the other side of the issues at hand. As I was living this day, if someone suggested I stop and watch "The Secret", I may have bit their head off. But now that I have a little perspective and space from a day gone terribly wrong, I may be able to construct a roadmap to guide me another day. Because it is going to happen. Life is all about second chances and do-overs. These obstacles aren't put in our way to annoy us. They lie before us so we can try again another day and do better. I will give myself a small reprieve and follow the sage advise I tell my little daycare family "When you know better, you do better".

I feel life greatly. When I was younger, the peaks were higher and the valleys were lower. As I've moved on and through life, I still ride those hills but the thrills aren't quite as high, nor are the lows so debilitating. I grimaced when I was told by family members when they could foresee a fall coming after I rose to new heights. I tried hiding the highs and the lows so I wasn't so transparent but I felt like a fraud. Words dried up and so did the emotions. I stopped feeling so deeply. I lost the good stuff right along with the bad. I looked back at the years I lived greatly and wondered what had gone so terribly wrong since then.

When you stop focusing on the "happy", the "sad" takes over. When you stop dreaming, you stop anticipating life and start dreading what is around the next corner. When you hyper-focus on all that is going wrong, you forget to count how many things are going right.

I didn't want to stop and write this after watching "The Secret". I wanted to go and dream and create visions of the life I want to live and how I want to feel while I'm living it. I want to start building a "Vision Board". I want to create my visions, file them away, keep my dreams alive and believe possibilities are endless. Then I want to find that "vision board" again and realize that all of my dreams have come true and I didn't even realize it.

This has happened to me before. If I write it, it comes. I never know how or when and I rarely even recognize it is happening at the time. It is only when I go back and reread what I wrote a year later that I realized I had subconsciously been creating a wish list. "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", and that Santa Claus is you. If you can believe it, you can create it.

Think about the world you want to create. Focus on what is going right, even if it feels like everything is going terribly wrong. Did you wake up this morning? Yes. Could you see the daylight peek through your window? Probably. Could you hear the annoying sound of an alarm clock (if you are reading this on a work day)? Quite likely so. Did you have a roof over your head? Were you warm, fed and clothed? We take the basics of life for granted. Think about one person who is suffering more than you and it seems they were dealt an unfair hand. Suddenly it shifts your perspective and in that moment you remember how good you have it.

I don't want to underplay the gravity of what so many are dealing with as they wake up to each new day. I live in a world where far too many people I know and care about are dealing with the aftermath of what they have been given. It is far from easy and watching "The Secret" isn't going to fix all that ails them. But if we try to refocus our attention to what is good, list all we are grateful for, feed the positive aspects of our life, create a vision of what we want and where we want to go ... maybe, just maybe we can turn our thoughts around. Thoughts are a powerful thing.  Begin where you are and go forward from there. One small baby step at a time.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Cabin Fever + Daycare Days = This Blog Post

I am on the other side of one of the toughest daycare weeks in recent history. I like nothing about how I handled things, who I was or how I coped. It was hard but my rotten attitude made things ten times worse than they needed to be.

The dynamics have changed since my one-year-old returned from a two week holiday. There is a novel within that statement. I will recap that novel by saying the week was hard. Really hard.

Add the fact that one of my three-year-olds is transitioning out of naps and this seems to have changed the very core of her personality. And mine. I don't do well when I don't have that hour of quiet completely to myself.

This is compounded by the fact that there are more changes forthcoming and I am riding myself very hard right now. I have to find a better way to make things work with who and what I have right now.

At the core of all of this, is one challenging little person who I cannot leave unsupervised. I called my friend who has run a daycare for as long as she has had children and one of her own children was very much like this little person. I was looking for advise. I told her my troubles and how I was handling them. "I have to bring this child with me wherever I go...", I said looking for suggestions. Instead she simply agreed. "Yes, you do."

While my one-year-old was away, I could turn my back on this little person because the others were older and able to stand up for themselves. Now I have this littler person who not only needs defending, but she is picking up the habits of the child I'm "protecting" her from. And I am going to be adding one more, younger than her to this mix??

Granted, we are on the tail end of winter and we have been cooped up far too much for far too long. Our weather has been beautiful but what do you do when you have five little people and everywhere they play, there is ice, puddles, mud and/or crusty snow? How do you dress said children when they need snow pants and water resistant mitts to deal with the snow, rubber boots to contend with the puddles, but while wearing said rubber boots they are like Bambi on ice? They need to be dressed for winter, spring, summer and fall all at the same time.

Add all of this to the fact that I have started leaving the house again and finding adult conversation comes with a price. I need the stimulation of talking to someone over the age of "three", but it wears me out at the same time. Thus, I tend to rely on my daycare-friend-from-another-province to fill the gaps of friendship, support and advise when I need it the most. Right in the thick of my daycare day.

This too shall pass. I know the difference being able to be outside for extended periods of time will make upon our day. We have spring fever "times six" around here. We are all getting a little squirrelly. And I'm leading the pack.

Right now, I need to do what I can do with this weekend. Shuffling some toys into the playhouse on the deck should buy us some contentment. I need to do what I can do, with what I have on hand. And I have a lot on hand.

But first and foremost, I must go and put in my bookkeeping day. It is a day that challenges my brain and leaves no room to dwell on the challenges and frustrations of the week that preceded it. I need to debrief from my daycare world and perhaps jumping into a world of numbers will be exactly what I need the most.

The sooner I go, the sooner I can come home. I shall come home and tune out my negative thoughts and tune into something inspirational. I have the tools. I shall dig myself out from under the ice and emerge victorious. I need a little "Spring" in my step and the sun is doing what it can for us this weekend.

Sunny skies ahead!! I'm ready.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This Movie is Rated "I" for Inspiring

I attended "Lunafest" (short films by, for, about women) with a friend last night. Six short films ranging from seven minutes to eighteen minutes long. This mini movie festival coincides with International Women's Day (the day prior) and the entire theme of the evening was very "woman" oriented.

Each film had a message, some you had to dig deeper than others and many of them made me feel like I was standing in an art museum and I was left wondering "What just happened here?" and needed an explanation to understand the intent of what I had just watched.

My friend and I had just been talking about the wonder of "art" and how ten different people could read the same book, see the same movie, read the same article or simply be standing still and watching life unfold and those ten people would internalize, see and reflect what they had just read/seen/heard in ten different ways. This is the beauty of art and the creative process.

I woke up this morning looking for a google image of the movie ratings which preceded this mini movie festival (I thought "I" for Inspiring was the best movie rating one ask for) and couldn't find anything except movie listings tagged with inspirational. I thought this was a good second prize and clicked on a few sites with the intent on creating a list of "must see" movies for myself.

Was it just because I had just attended a "Women's Day" event that I noticed every movie on the first few lists I scrolled through had men and men issues as their focal point? Most of these issues are relate-able to both genders but there was most definitely a bias.

I thought of the movie "Joy" I had just seen a week prior to this event. This, among several other movies made it to a "15 Movies About Extraordinary Women" list (nine of the movies were from 2015). I am not a woman's activist or anything of the sort but having my eyes opened to the idea that many of Hollywood's box office hits are films by, for and about men helped me appreciate the victory it is to have more women's stories out there.

I think it's important to try and control the "input" that is impacting my thought processes. While I don't think the Home & Garden Network is damaging my soul/mind/spirit I don't think it is enhancing it either. Peeking into the extravagance some people live in is not serving any greater purpose. I think it is more important to take a peek at real life heroes, whether they are men or women, and strive to think bigger and dream of the life I want to create.

During the years that I rerouted my life, my dreams and my goals the premise of "The Secret" was my underlying guide post. I have let go of that guide wire and tried life on my own. I think I have found my way back to solid ground but I'm still wandering and checking out various paths. I trust this all part of a process. I can find a positive for every negative situation I've encountered. Usually the positives outweigh the negatives at a ratio which is quite likely 100 to 1 or more.

I was lost but I'm finding my way. In the end, I know I wouldn't appreciate the final destination without the detours. I am going to live today as if it was a movie that I want to rate "I" for Inspiring. Inspiration lies around every corner. You just have to dig a little deeper to find it, some of the time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I Know Enough to Know I Don't Know Much

I'm glad I recognized I was in over my head but the scary thing is, that I think I've been drowning for a lot longer than even I recognized.

I have paid to talk with accountants twice within a span of six months. I learned a lot by talking with these professionals. The biggest lesson of all, is how much I really don't know (even though I thought I was well aware of my lack of knowledge).

I worked in the banking industry for about thirty years. I took several financial planning courses. I've taken a bookkeeping course and I've worked as a bookkeeper. I have done my own taxes and the taxes of several others for many years. Yet when it comes to farming, business and self employment income tax, I know only enough to be dangerous.

I have asked many questions along the way but one thing I've learned when it comes to taxes, you can ask five different people the same question and get six different answers. Who do you trust? Certainly not me!

People have over estimated my capabilities. I have jumped in over my head more times than I care to think about. Yet I just seem to just keep jumping.

This is the last year I will have a dependent child to claim on my income taxes. I have never been a single, with no dependants tax payer. I want to be ready to make this transition when I do my income taxes next year so I thought I would go into this year as prepared as I can be to help with the transition.

I paid $58.00 to a chartered personal accountant last night. I spent an hour with this professional and she gave me a lot of tips and information. I had made an attempt at my taxes before I went to see her and according to that calculation, I owed over $500.00. I made all the revisions she suggested this morning and according to my preliminary calculation, I now get a $20.00 refund. Hmmm. By spending $58, I will be not only be saving over $500, but I have the peace of mind knowing I have all the information I need to do the job right.

While we were talking, this accountant asked me if I would be willing to take on any additional bookkeeping jobs. She said that she often has to turn people away and she likes to be able to give them a name. I told her I didn't feel capable of doing the job of doing someone's books without someone to guide me along the way. I am so relieved that was my immediate answer. As I heard her forming the question but had not yet asked it all I could think of was, "NO!! Not another bookkeeping commitment!" The only kind of books I want to keep these days are books that are filled with words, not numbers.

I woke up this morning with no regrets. I don't feel qualified to do a bookkeeping job without someone at my side, guiding me along the way. But more importantly, it is just not where I want to spend my energy. I don't know enough, I don't have enough time and I don't think I could be paid enough to take on any more.

I admit defeat. I do not know enough to help someone else. But I am good enough to do my own work. And that is just about enough for me.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Words Left Over at the End of a Day

I think I'm getting my days and nights mixed up. I remember that quiet morning time that I used to savor. I would get up before the birds so I could hold onto it as long as possible before the real world walked in my door. That quiet time is not anywhere near long enough any more. Even on a Sunday. I don't seem to be doing mornings very effectively any more.

Evenings are a different story. I feel like I have been turning over a new leaf.

I have left the house after supper four nights within the past week. I went to a movie. I went out for supper and a deep, reflective conversation. I went out for coffee and felt like the friend I used to think I was. I went out to talk to an accountant and could have walked out the door with a potential bookkeeping job. But that is not what I've come here to write about.

After each one of these outings, I came home and felt "alive". I didn't want to crawl into my pajamas and shut down. I wanted to stay awake and enjoy simply feeling happy, fulfilled and inspired. I cannot remember the last time I felt this happy after supper!

It is little stuff. A movie that made me think and stay awake far outside of my usual sleeping hours. Conversation where someone gets you, they really get you. A friendship where I felt like I was listening beyond the surface. A meeting of the minds where I felt like I have value.

I think I need a little diversity in my life and waking hours. Maybe I can sleep in a little and give myself an extra hour at the end of the day. Maybe my head is shifting time zones.

Today was a hard day. I wasn't my best self until I was in the home stretch of the day. Normally a day like this would have me in my pj's before I sat down to eat supper. Not today! Today I cooked us a healthy meal, freshened up and talked "income tax" with a professional. I didn't come home and start working with my numbers but I did make myself a cup of hot apple cider and celebrated feeling "human" at the end of a long day.

I may not make it back here tomorrow morning but I will do my best to come back when I'm alert and have time to finish a thought. Eventually, I hope some of those thoughts have a point. But for tonight, I will settle for finishing what I start before I walk away.

Maybe I'm turning into a night owl! Although this night owl is officially ready to call it a day. Maybe I'll be a 9:00 retiree ...

Stretching My Wings

Monday feels like an assault to my senses after a most wonderful, leisurely two day weekend.

Yes, two days off to do with as I pleased. I wish housecleaning pleased me more than it does but it is becoming very apparent to me that I was not put on this earth to clean. So if not cleaning, what is my purpose here?

It was a gift to wake up to a day off that no one else in the world knew about. I didn't want to fill my bonus day off with commitments. I just wanted it to gently unfold so I could savor each moment as it arrived without expectation. That is exactly what happened.

It was a day filled with small moments. I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be and I liked the person I was as I walked through the day.

That bonus day gave me the desire to put myself out into the world of family and friends. While I have been hoarding my time to try and conserve my energy, I have deprived myself of the gift of friendship.

I was the person I most wanted and needed to be. I felt a glimmer of the person I used to be when I felt excited about the life I have created within my little world.

I want to feel this way more often. I am not certain what the secret to this is, but I have a feeling it comes to saying "Yes" a little more often than I have been.

It's hard to step out of the safe little cocoon that has been embracing me and keeping me content. I'm stretching my wings a little bit. I'll fly again.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Dream That Won't Die

I just heard of someone taking a year off every seven years or so, to just be still and quiet and create. As I sit here staring into space thinking of how my word well  has run dry (or at least "the connection from my head to my heart to my fingertips" - I just heard that one as well), I know that is the answer I wish I could grant myself. (Inspiration credit goes to this video: "Daring Greatly to Unlock Your Creativity" With Brené Brown - Chase Jarvis LIVE)

I look back on my life and see little "breaks" built into it. When my first child was born, I had about a year off. Nine years later, his brother was born and I had another break from the work world. Eleven years following that, my third son was born and I had six months at home alone with him before I opened my daycare. Ten years after he was born, I ended up having surgery which gave me a short reprieve from my regularly scheduled work load and time to concoct a plan which ended up with me going back to school the following year.

That year of education was tonic for my soul. It was exciting to learn, to challenge my brain, to intermingle with adults again. Even though I still worked a little on the side, it was a year that I nourished "me". It was amazing.

My opportunity to work within the school system shortly thereafter seemed like an answer to a prayer. I envisioned an annual two month summer holiday (with Christmas, February and Easter breaks generously sprinkled throughout the winter months), where I would let my fingers go wherever they wanted to go. I would be quiet. I would hear the wise voice deep inside my subconscious mind. I would feel. And I would write. I can still picture that scene in my mind.

I think of John Boy Walton sitting at his desk by the window, with pen in hand writing down his thoughts at the end of his day.

I can't find the owner of this photo to give credit on their behalf but I did find this picture on this "How John-Boy Walton Influenced My Life" by J. Mark Powell
I don't dream of lavish vacations, luxurious retreats or faraway destinations. My truest dream is to sit in a room with a view from one of my grandparent's homes, stare out into the vastness of the prairies and reignite the brain to heart to fingertip connection.

This is the dream that won't die. I knew I had one in me somewhere ...
"Laura Ingall's Little House on the Prairie, with John-Boy Walton's desk with a second story view"

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pushing Through the Small Stuff

I started this post a day ago ...

Here we go again! The ceremonial turning of the calendar page, finding us one month closer to spring has put a bit of a spring in my step this morning. Troubleshooting my phone's ability to download pictures and sending off a required monthly report has cleared my early morning slate. Well, it isn't so "early morning" any more but at least those jobs are done.

Then life stepped and the day was gone. And here I am again ...

Life has been doing a lot of that lately. "Stepping in", actually it feels a little more like "cutting in". Just when I think I have a minute to sit aside and think some thoughts and write them down I think of something else I should be doing, something distracts me or I simply walk away in mid thought like I did yesterday morning.

I've been going with the flow of life and life continues to flow in a forward direction whether I like it or not. Mostly, I like it.

I'm not a big fan of this troubleshooting phase which seems to have infiltrated every corner of my secluded little world. I have even had to "reboot" the dishwasher recently, fought with the vacuum cleaner, not to mention the ongoing saga with my credit card (and now even banking) transactions and all of the other gadgetry which surprise me with new glitches on a regular basis.

The amazing part of "all of the above" is that other than needing to call in a serviceman to replace our oven element (when a stripped screw and business hours the same as mine made it impossible for me to tackle this on my own), I have been able to fix all that ails our home and all its gadgets without spending a penny. At the moment, I am stretching a pair of perfectly good jeans that have become to small for my growing son and they have grown over an inch so far (my friend tells me to stretch them with each and every washing and she has stretched a pair of jeans up to six inches).

Life can have some annoying little hiccups but as long as we can get through these little challenges (and really, anything that doesn't involve one's health and emotional well being is "small stuff"), one trouble at a time these are really little more than character building moments, akin to the frustration of untangling Christmas lights.

Yes, I wouldn't mind a break from the endless list of "things going wrong" around here, but anything that can be fixed, replaced or one can live without is small potatoes in this big, scary world of problems without answers.

I will plug along and see what the day brings. Yesterday, a last minute invitation pushed me out of my world and well past my bedtime when I was invited to see a 9:00 movie with a friend. The movie was "Joy". I knew nothing about the premise of the movie when I sat down and it started to roll before my eyes. I was simply expecting a "joyful" movie. Which it was not. It is very much a movie about a woman who perseveres through the challenges of life in all of its dimensions. Just when you think she's got it made in the shade, another "glitch" arises. It is up to us to pick ourselves up, walk through the mire and go boldly towards a future we've dreamed of.

Today, my dreams are small. But if I keep troubleshooting my way through the small stuff, I'll keep building my stamina for the big stuff which could be around the next corner. For now, I'm grateful my troubles are nothing more than annoyance. Life is good.

"We got here from hard work, patience, and humility. Don't think the world owes you anything because the world owes you nothing." ~ Joy (from the movie "Joy")