Survival

For Christmas, my husband gave me five rose bushes. Since moving from our previous house, where I had rose bushes, I have missed having these beautiful flowers to cut and bring inside or give to others. As you know, it rained a little bit over the Christmas/January break. Roses aren’t too fond of copious amounts of water, so we weren’t surprised when we had a casualty.

It makes me think about how some things/people survive adverse circumstances and some don’t. All the rose bushes had the same amount of rain during that time, all were healthy and all were treated to the same planting technique. Yet, they didn’t all respond the same way.

A bit like us. We can go through the same thing as others, yet it can take a bigger toll on us and vice versa. For some of us, when we go through tough times, a little bit of us dies; we harden our hearts, make resolves that may or may not be healthy, we shut a little part of us away to avoid future pain. All natural, normal responses to trying circumstances.

And sometimes the losses are more tangible than that. Sometimes we lose businesses, relationships, friends. And some of us will shrivel up and die inside, while others will pick themselves up and move forward.

Often, if we allow it, something new will be born to replace what we have lost. And sometimes that new thing is wonderful and glorious. And sometimes, it’s risky. Risky to open up to someone after being hurt; risky to keep going with your dream in the face of criticism; risky to start up a new business when the floods swept the last one away.

Recently, we purchased a replacement rose bush to join the little collection that is now thriving in our garden. Here is the first bloom from Rose Valencia.
Beautiful, isn’t it? We could have just left the space where the first rose bush was, empty. We could have just settled for having one less. But we didn’t, we took a chance that even this late in the season, a new rose would flourish and survive.

Look what we would have missed out on, if we hadn’t taken that chance.

Power of now

Someone is trying to tell me something. I recently met with a beautiful person who talked about the need to be in the present moment. My daily readings all week have been about living in the now. And today, I read a wonderful post over at Christi Craig‘s blog about ‘being where your hands are’.

Definitely, Someone is trying to tell me something. And, as is often the case, when we aren’t listening, the lesson is repeated until we sit up and take notice.

I would say I have mainly been a ‘now’ person all my life. I revel in spontaneity and, sometimes to my detriment, will jump in straight away to a situation. I am conscious of seizing the moment and making the most of whatever I find myself doing at any given time.

But lately, I think maybe I have lost my way a little. I am getting far too caught up in the ‘what if’s’ instead of appreciating what already is. And, I have been accused recently, and rightly so, of not giving my full attention to those around me.

I need to remember to be in the now. To be in this moment. This. Moment.

To feel the keys under my fingertips as I type. To hear the sounds of the birds outside. To notice the position of my body, feel the beating of my heart and listen to my breathing.

To be in this moment because, really, that’s all we have.

Each day is a gift, each hour, each minute. Each breath. And it’s so easy to squander these gifts we are given. To believe we have an inexhaustible supply of days, hours, minutes. And we may do. Or we may not.

What we do have is this moment right now.

Dreams are good.

I read a recent post over at Positive Pessimist which has really made me think. Positive Pessimist talks about being thankful for her dreams. And I don’t think she was talking about the kind you have when you are asleep.

Now, I have heaps of dreams. And I am not exaggerating. I have a dream of one day being a published author, opening my own Bowen Therapy clinic, learning to play guitar. I would love to do volunteer work in a third world country, work with troubled teens here in Australia, save the dolphins in Japan. I would love to own a cafe/gallery in the hinterlands, study archaeology, travel the world, go on a road trip around Australia.

There are simply so many things I want to do in life that I have long since faced the reality that over half of them will never come to fruition. And I would love to say I am okay with that. But I’m not.

I wish I was someone who didn’t have so many things they wanted to get done. I wish I could just pick one thing and go for that without flitting about from project to project. I wish I wasn’t intrigued by so many things, that I could just find one interest/passion and stick with that. I wish I could settle for less.

I often feel frustrated and cranky at my dreams, I guess because so many of them seem out of my reach. But, stubborn as I am, that doesn’t stop me from dreaming that one day, I will do them.

Reading the post from Positive Pessimist has made me think about the fact that I should be thankful for my dreams. Without my dreams, I wonder if I would have much forward motion. Possibly, I would simply drift, aimlessly moving through life. Without my dreams, I have a sneaking suspicion I would go steadily crazy…well, crazier than I already am :P.

My dreams sustain me, no matter how frustrating they are. The forward aspect keeps me excited about the future and strangely, grounded in the present. Once I recognise that what I do right here, right now, effects the future, I take more care with what’s to hand.

So, as of today, I am going to be thankful for my dreams, embrace them and be okay with the fact that there are so many of them. After all, who knows, I might live to be 150 and actually get all of them done!

Special Guest Blogger post

It is with pleasure that I welcome Karen S Elliot as guest blogger today. With the memory of our January floods still sharp in our minds, I thought it would be good to hear from someone from the other side of the world who knows a little about what we all experienced earlier this year. Karen has been temporarily displaced due to the floods in her hometown in the US but that hasn’t stopped her writing and sharing her expertise and knowledge with a newbie blogger like me (and many others!). Thanks Karen and welcome to my blog 🙂 And by the way, you are very welcome to visit!

My life in a suitcase, my office in a book bag.  

Susannah Friis lives in a place that’s on my Bucket List (the great Down Under), so I’m doing a little sucking up – if she goes on vacation, she might need a house sitter.

Chocolate and Charlie Brown – Susannah likes chocolate and writing – no brainer. Susannah maintains two blogs and four publications – she’s crazy – I like that. She quotes Churchill and Charlie Brown. Who doesn’t like Charlie Brown?

Contentment – Recently on her blog, Susannah wrote about contentment, and I’ve been thinking, “What is contentment?” IT is different for every person…

Weight Contentment – I haven’t been content with my weight since 1979 (the year I got pregnant). Since then, I’ve been fighting the baby fat, the love of eating big and well, the onslaught of age. I can bitch about it (while vegging on the couch), or I can get jiggy with it – make a plan and actually work on the plan, get my butt out of bed and walk every morning; I can try to remember that just because The Sun Chips are better than The Chips, I shouldn’t eat the whole bag.

Age Contentment – Now that I’m 54, I realize I’m not content with that. 54 years old. Geez oh man – I was just 24 a couple of thoughts ago! Accept it, revel in the smarts I’ve gathered (most of it since 44), love that I can brag my only child is a fabulous dad, he married a wonderful gal, and I can share pictures of my two cute-as-buttons grandkids (they call me “MoMo” – ain’t that cute?).

What-I-did-save Contentment – I’m writing this in September. Three months ago – June 21, 2011 – I walked away from my apartment home and about 90% of my belongs because of an impending catastrophic flood – clothes, furniture, kitchen wares, wall pictures, my high school Color Guard boots and jacket, the LP collection I’d saved for over 35 years, the ball caps I’d collected through 30 years of travel…but I did save all my books, my family pictures, my genealogical research, my grandmother’s jewelry, and my aunt’s  Ella Fitzgerald one-of-a-kind recording of Stardust.

The Suitcase – After months of living out of a suitcase and carrying my office around in a book bag, I realized I was waiting for that perfect moment…that moment when I could again “set up house” and get on with, well, everything.

Realization – And then I realized, “What am I waiting for?” That perfect moment might never come. That perfect day might never see the sunrise.

I might still be waiting to travel to Wales; I may wait a few years before I’m able to see the Great Wall of China or a nice vacation in Australia (ahem), but I don’t have to wait for conditions to be “just right” for what I want out of LIFE.

At times, I’m irritable because I can’t beg, borrow, or steal a motel room or even a dank apartment in Minot (go ahead, try it) to stay near my son, his wife, and my two grandsons. So, as I sit in a crappy hotel room in Bismarck or Rugby or Devil’s Lake, ND, I force myself to consider, “What can I do with today?”

And I am reminded that I have much to be content about.

“Look to the future, because that is where you’ll spend the rest of your life.” – George Burns

Karen was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun. Her favorite book is the dictionary.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, writer, and grandmother. You can find her at www.TheWordShark.com – new! Find her blog here. Connect with Karen on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Source – Quote – Brainyquote.com


Anyone for a flat burger?

The other day, my husband and I stopped in at a fast food joint. You see I have a very unhealthy addiction to a certain type of burger and will angle my way to get one at any cost. This day, instead of driving through, my husband decided to park and go in and get it rather than go through the drive-through. I waited patiently in the car (read – too lazy to get out of the car).

Now, when my husband got back to the car, one of the drinks was overflowing so he threw me my bag of goodies through the open door and then threw his bag onto his seat in order to better deal with the overflowing drink. Having dealt with the drink he then got in the car.

And sat right smack bang on top of his bag. I started to laugh. He turns to me, “What? Why are you laughing?” Oh how much harder that made me laugh. I managed to gasp out “You just sat on your burger!” And then I laughed even harder at the look on his face. He withdrew the bag from underneath him and rescued from the bag one completely flat burger. I mean seriously, it was like a centimetre high.

And that was it, I was gone. With tears rolling and sides splitting, I just could not stop laughing. I wanted to take a photo of it but couldn’t manage to stop laughing long enough. And then he just ate it. A flat, squashed, sad looking little burger.

Now, I laugh often, and often at inappropriate times, but I haven’t laughed that hard for weeks. And boy, did it feel good. I know there has been heaps of research conducted into the benefits of laughing, but frankly, I don’t need to see the studies and statistics to know it’s good for me. It feels good and I always, always feel better after a good laugh.

When was the last time you had a good honest-to-goodness laugh? Just let me know, and if it’s been awhile, I can send my husband round to your place with a fast food item ready to squash.

That laugh was even better than the burger that day. And that is really saying something!

It’s all about me….isn’t it?

I was reminded recently about a conversation that took place between our youngest daughter and her father, when she was about three and a half.

Just to set the scene: the three and a half year old is being demanding (a common occurrence back then…and currently, come to think of it) and the father is becoming increasingly frustrated.

So it went something like this:

Frustrated Father: “It’s not all about you!”

Equally as frustrated Daughter: “I know.” And then quietly, exiting stage left. “But I wish it was.”

It still makes me chuckle outwardly, and cringe inwardly. Ah, how often do children just say it like it is?

Deep down, we all want it to be about us, don’t we? We just learn to not say it out loud, rather we set about finding ways to make it all about us, and hope no-one will notice what we are doing.

Most of us, if we are honest, harbour a secret, and for some not so secret, desire for everything to please us, entertain us, and be for our benefit or gain.

We try to teach our children that the world doesn’t revolve around them, that they need to share and that we should put others first.

And yet.

I look around at us as a society and wonder if some of us have learnt that at all. Some people have carried the wish to have it all about them, well into adulthood. And it’s a notion reinforced by advertising where we are told to look out for Number One, to put ourselves first and to pursue our own happiness like it were the holy grail.

Is it any wonder we have trouble teaching our kids this philosophy when all around are examples of the very opposite?

It’s not all about me is a mantra we would all do well to say regularly throughout our day and in trying circumstances.

It’s also refreshingly grounding too.

If it’s not all about us, we can let go of the need to be perfect, to be all to everyone and to remember that if the focus is not specifically on us, we can relax a little.

If it’s not all about us, we can let those around us take responsibility for their side of the relationship, we don’t have to try and solve everyone’s problems and we can simply be us, minding our own business in our little corner of the world.

It’s not all about you. And that is a good thing.

 

To my dad, on Father’s Day

Today being Father’s Day, I thought I would take the time to reflect on my dad and fatherhood.

A quick poll over dinner with friends last night, revealed we all have different reasons we love our dad. For some it was the sacrifice of time to take a child to early morning sport, for some it was showing them a good work ethic, for some it was just time spent together.

For me, I feel like it was everything. I had one of the best childhoods imaginable. Full of fun, warmth, acceptance and most importantly, love.

I was never too big to sit on dad’s lap, never too big for a hug. In fact, I remember very clearly at a major crisis in my teenage life, his response, when he had every right to be angry and disappointed, was simply to fold me into a big hug.

One of the best things my dad taught me was to laugh, and often. From his silly made-up stories when I was little, to bad ‘dad jokes’, the most common sound in our home was laughter.

Being the youngest of five, you would expect me to have a tale of possibly being a bit neglected and forgotten about. Not so. I always felt important, noticed and interested in. My opinion mattered, regardless of my age. We were all allowed the room to question, discuss, and explore what we thought about an issue, not just be spoon-fed our parent’s beliefs or opinions.

The gift of independent thinking, is perhaps the greatest gift given to a child from a parent.

It is possibly this trait that now allows my dad and me to have the hearty discussions, debates and in-depth conversations we have today. Dad is one of my favourite people to talk to and is certainly among my best friends.

The other important thing dad did was show me what a husband was. I married someone who makes me laugh out loud every single day and who treats me with the respect and love that my dad made sure I knew I deserved.

My husband is also an outstanding father. Watching him sometimes with our children brings a lump to my throat and I know they are growing up with the same love, acceptance, warmth and attention that I did. My dad has also given the gift of a great father to his grandchildren, albeit indirectly.

So, here’s to you dad, my father and my friend. I love you heaps and although we say it often, it can never be said too much.