Saturday, May 17, 2014

Somewhere Along The Line, I Lost A Week

And I just hate it when that happens!

Last Saturday was just one of those days.  We had unexpected company show up, and we had dinner plans to celebrate a friend's 75th birthday!  Good Lord, I remember the days when I didn't even know anyone that old, with the exception of grandparents!  Now I have friends that age.  It's really rather frightening!

Anyway, as the company was family, we had no problem ditching them to go out to dinner at Arnie's Restaurant in Mukilteo, WA.  It was a lovely surprise party for our friend Bruce.  Good wine.  Great food.  Excellent cake.  A beautiful view!

Did I mention the cake?  Oy Vey!  A white cake with fresh fruit (blueberries and strawberries) and the best white chocolate cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted!  The waiter cut these huge slices and what possessed me to eat the whole slice is beyond me.

Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible upper abdominal pain.  I had 3 other episodes earlier this year while we were on our RV journey.  This one had lasted 5 hours and was getting worse.  So rather than enjoying Mother's Day by relaxing with a lovely brunch and mimosas, I spent the day relaxing in the ER with IV Dilaudid and an anti-nausea medication.  I'm sure with our new high deductible health insurance policy, this little visit will end up costing me more than if I had actually taken my kids, their spouses and the grandkids out for brunch.

The general consensus was that this was a gallbladder attack, and I was scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound.  I am to follow up with a GI Surgeon on Monday the 19th.

I hate to state the obvious, but being sick just sucks!  It has taken me the whole week to get back to feeling normal.  I'm extremely delighted to say that I am having no more pain or nausea, and I'm back to eating like I usually do.  The ER Doctor had recommended a no-fat diet.  Like that was going to happen .  I tried low fat for a few days but I just felt off.  I like to eat a whole food type diet.  I shop the outside aisles of the grocery store.  I don't choose low-fat because the manufacturers just add sugar and other chemicals to the product to make it palatable after they remove the fat.  I do feel best filling half my plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with a whole grain bread or starch.

We will see what the doctor has to say on Monday.  I've spent this week blessing my gallbladder and expressing gratitude for my healthy body.  Change your thoughts, change your experiences - that's what I teach, what I preach and what I believe.

And on the woo-woo side of things - when I was laying on a gurney in an Emergency Room,  I heard the woman next to me say her name was "Aleda".  That was my mom's name.  As we were leaving, I asked the woman how she spelled it.  It was just as my mom did - Aleda.  I had never met anyone with that name, spelled that way.  Neither had she.  If that wasn't my mom reaching out from heaven to say "Hello" - I don't know what it would be.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom - I hope yours was much more comfortable than mine!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Sounds good, right?  Getting to the point when you can just turn off the negative chatter in your mind isn't always easy.

I come from a long line of worriers on my dad's side of the family.  Oh, he believed in potential - the potential for everything to turn into a disaster that is.  A simple case of diarrhea from eating too much rich food was surely a pre-cursor to colorectal cancer.  A squeal when you tapped the brakes meant the brakes were bound to fail, causing a head on collision.  It couldn't be that the brake pads were damp because of early morning dew.  Having a disagreement with my husband meant I would be asking about asking divorce attorneys.  Or could we just be having one of little fights all couples have over stupid issues.  None of these potentials for disaster ever occurred in his life.  In fact, for all the worrying he did, he lived a pretty uncomplicated life.  I'm not sure how that happened, because I do believe that we do attract those types of experiences about which we think.

Perhaps it was my mother's attitude that counteracted my dad's worst case scenario way of looking at things.  While I don't necessarily recall my mom being a cock-eyed optimist, I do remember that when difficult situations arose, she had a calmness about her.  I guess I'm thinking about my mom's influence on my life because Mother's Day is tomorrow.  I've recently been searching for something to spark my spirituality - something to kick my spiritual butt into action once again.  When I went looking for something to read as part of morning prayer time, I really shouldn't have been surprised to find The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale in a box of books I had collected from my mom's estate.  I picked it up and started reading, and knew at once that this was just want I needed.  I could feel that energy of the words changing my vibration.  In my life, as I supposed it is in  many others, there are a few challenges that could be recipes for disaster.  I find those dreaded "what ifs" running through my mind.  I'm already working on solving problems that have not even occurred.  That's me channelling my dad, bless his heart.  But then I remember how my mom would have reacted.  I close my eyes, take a deep breath, say a little prayer and affirm that out of all situations only good can come.  That is one of my go to affirmations.  It's not easy, training yourself to shift your focus from calamity to peace, but it is possible.  It takes practice, but once you realize what a difference it makes in your life and your outlook on life, you won't go back to worrying (at least not for long).  So don't worry - be happy.

Enjoy this little bit of joy to help you on your way! Pharrell Williams - (If You're) Happy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spiritual Stagnation

I have a morning routine that includes what my mom used to call her "daily devotions".  I call it my quiet time.  It's a time for meditation, reflection, and spiritual study. For a number of years, I have been reading Around The Year With Emmet Fox by Emmet Fox, and 365 Saints by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker.  Each year I try to use a different colored highlighter or pen to mark the passages that jump out at me.  Many lines are marked and remarked, underlined in different colors and there are even ones that are starred and circled.  Occasionally, there will be a phrase or sentence that is only highlighted or underlined once.  It makes me wonder what was going on in my life at the time.  And even more, it surprises me when a new sentence jumps out at me.  Did I not read that before?  Was I not ready to read/hear what the author was saying?   Those are my two primary daily devotionals.  I usually have a few other books going at the same time.

If I had to describe my spiritual beliefs, I would probably say I fell somewhere between New Thought and New Age with a healthy dose of the teachings of Jesus.  I was raised in the Lutheran Church and never attended another church until I was in my 40s.  At that time, I discovered Unity.   While I never actually joined my local Unity church, I do connect with the teachings of Unity, and if I had to declare a church affiliation, that would be the one I would pick.

So given the above, why in heaven's name was I finding myself so attracted to some of the various Catholic authors?  I love the writing of Woodeene Koenig-Bricker.  She is so down to earth and practical, and lives her faith.  I am also very fond of Father James Martin, and especially his book, The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything.  Oh my goodness, I loved that book.  It is about the teachings of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and learning how to see God in all things.  Father Martin has a very easy to read style, and his books are full of funny stories and humorous anecdotes accompanied by user friendly teachings and examples.

I tried some other Catholic authors, and I just wasn't connecting with them.  In one book, the author even wrote something to the effect that if you were not getting anything out of his writing, maybe this was not the book for you. Okay, good to know.  I'll move on.

When you feel stuck and are looking for something to expand your vision and understanding of things spiritual, often times your first inclination is to look for a new author or a new teacher.  However, through experience, I've often found that the best thing to do is go back and re-read some of the books and authors that you previously connected with.  We all have those ones - the ones where you first went "ah-ha".  I have a friend who calls these insights "just another piece of the puzzle."  And that's how it feels.

We are all working on different puzzles.  We all get stuck at different spots.   Next time you are stuck, try going back to the basics.  Find the straight edged pieces of your puzzle - this is your foundation.  and go to work from there.  You may find things just start coming together.  Or you may find there is a missing puzzle piece, just waiting to be discovered.

I noticed I've been stuck recently....stuck in the sense that I felt like I was just not making any progress.  Therefore, I'm pulling out my foundation blocks - Catherine Ponder, Florence Scovel Shinn, Emmet Fox.  I will re-read some of these authors and I'm sure that just like in my daily devotional reading, I will find bits of wisdom that jump off the page that either I just didn't read before, or I wasn't yet ready to read.

I plan to just keep on keeping on.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm Baaaccckkkk

Well, sort of.  I am back in the sense that we have returned from our 7 week RVing venture to Southern California and Arizona. I was posting on our RV Virgins Blog pretty regularly.  We got home and any blogging schedule I had established came to a halt.  First there was unpacking the rig, a task that always takes longer than one would think it should.  Then there was (and continues to be) yard work. One of these times I am going to budget for a yard person to come and take care of the mowing and the weeds before we get home. (Bless my son-in-law for mowing a few weeks before we got home, otherwise, it would have been a disaster!) And of course, we had to have time with our grandsons!  Love them to pieces, but they are little germ factories!  So after loving them up, we promptly got sick.  I was the last one to get hit with the current GI bug, but I'm up and feeling inspired this morning.

My first question to myself is why am I more productive as far as blogging goes when I am on the road?  Perhaps because I'm having new experiences that I'd like to share.  Perhaps because I'm not distracted by the endless household and yard chores that are calling to me when we are home.  Perhaps because I made it a priority while we were gone that I was going to do some writing each day.  In my mind, I was going to be working on my novel.  HA!  Never wrote a word on it.  I refreshed my mind about where I was in the process when I put it down last year.  Thought about it a bit, but never wrote anything.  But, I did blog.

I made my way through Julia Cameron's book The Sound Of Paper.  I kind of wish I had read it before I worked my way through The Artist's Way.  Maybe I would be more committed to my creativity.  Ms. Cameron does hammer into your head that the "job" is to show up.  And that you have to be willing to be bad in order that you can be good.  There are times I think I've got the "bad" down and am ready to move toward good, but I leave out the first part of the job, which is showing up.  So I am back also in the sense of making a commitment to write something each day.  I'm willing to be bad in order to become good.  I'm willing to be bad at writing, bad at sketching, bad at painting, and bad at cooking.   However, I may surprise myself.  You never know when something magical is going to happen when you just show up.

Today, I show up.