Thursday, 28 February 2013
When I was pregnant, I had a four year old tell me about labor.
Four Year Old: "When you have the baby, they will cut you open, take the baby out, and stitch you back up."
Me: "I really hope not!"
Four Year Old: with hands on hips "Well, then! You are going to have to PUSH it out and THAT is going to HURT!"
And this topic came up a few times! She was very interested in my pregnancy. Such genuine questions and concerns. She would make sure I wasn't squishing the baby. And one time she asked me if I had to eat baby food in order to feed the baby inside me. When I finally gave birth it was obvious that even though she insisted pushing would hurt, she still didn't fathom the process (thankfully). She stared at tired me in my hospital bed and when asked what was wrong she questioned, "I don't get it. How did you get her out?" Silence. With permission, my mom informed her she came out where I went pee. That curious little tot looked around the room at us one by one in disbelief, waiting for someone to say she was joking (something she hears all the time due to her silly grandpa, who is my husband), but each person assured her it was true. She still didn't believe it. We don't believe it either.
My darling niece has said some adorable things as well. She loves my "tooth jewelry". A reminder that braces don't look bad to everyone. One day she made me laugh when she got mad at my husband because he was driving and she was trying to do something in the back seat. "Uncle! Stop turning! Just drive straight". Totally possible in the city. I think it was the same day he took a wrong turn at a busy intersection and mumbled, "Dumb Ass". Later we heard her in the back seat exclaiming, "Damas, damas, damas". He was devastated and thought he had taught her something inappropriate while she was in our care. I looked back and she was playing with a balloon monkey and his "damas". Damas was her word for "bananas". All was well.
I considered putting some of my 16 month old's utterings in her book already. Like her cute toddler words. She at first called her belly her "baby". Watching snow fall as we got out of the truck, she declared, "Bubbles!" in the elated tone she always uses in the tub (buboools!). She frequently says, "I YOU" which is I love you. Especially if she sees a heart. And I love how she calls a fork a "book" even though a book is also a "book".
As her mind expands, she learns to classify things. Animals were at first a kitty or a dog and if neither of those sufficed they were a duck. Though sometimes, understandably, a small dog was a kitty. Now, it has expanded to include "bee" and "fish" (thanks to our short-lived attempt to own a goldfish). Anything resembling a bear is "bear". An animal not categorized as any of these previous mammals is a "tiger". The synapses are developing.
And so is my excitement. I love every day that I get to facilitate her exploring. And she shows me what is in my surroundings, too (I have never spent so much investigative time with sewer drains. Well, previously I never spent any time with sewer drains). Another thing I can record-- the discoveries I see through my little enlightenment-facilitator. What a blessing from God she has been.
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
It fascinates me how each brain uniquely prioritizes memory "filing". I love to read articles about the human mind. How the brain works and new discoveries on thought processes. The affects of surroundings and our mood on our thinking. How our memory works.
My memory seems to just hold random, useless snippets from my childhood. Like standing in the corner at the neighbors after convincing my brother to drink poison. Or having a teacher laugh at me. Or peeing my pants on a busy merry-go-round. Or having to leave a Christmas party because my brother was having a tantrum. Hmmm, it seems my hippocampus, amygdala, and whatever other parts of my brain were involved, decided that I would much rather remember negative events. I do recall the occasional joy, like bowling with my dad or hearing him explain the effects in a movie (pre-digital). Or biking to the zoo with my grandparents (and then asking why they didn't get a seniors discount when it turned out they weren't seniors yet).
I wonder how many memories will surface as I watch my daughter grow? As I see her discover new things. As I see her face fears, rejection, pain. I imagine that some of the re-surfacing will not be pleasant. I will probably have some experiences I will enjoy reliving with some warm, fuzzy feelings, but many that I will simply not appreciate. I hope my parenting helps recall more of the positive events from all my subconscious has compiled.
The key will be to not let my own long-time-ago experience be a sole dictator on how I react. I can't filter her life through my own pain and regrets. I can't assume her happiness will come from avoiding everything that caused me pain. I need to be open to who she is, what she enjoys, who God created her to be. I am not to live my own childhood vicariously through her. I am to facilitate her living her own childhood. Of course, I'll try hard to help her be confident and secure and I'll really pray she never has the anxiety I experienced.
I know parenting will be a learning process. I will discover reasoning behind my parents' choices and shortcomings. I find I am able to let go of more things from my upbringing as I realize how many factors come into play in taking care of a little ones every need. Worries like money and safety. Sleep-- or lack of it. Media influence and current trends. Family input. Time... It's not an easy task. Every day the decision has to be made to decipher what's important and let the rest go. And no matter how wonderful of a parent you are, your child will misinterpret your intentions somehow.
I know my parents loved me and being a mother myself has helped my love for them grow. I hope I can reward them with a close relationship with their grand daughter. Hopefully they won't indulge her ears with too many of my shenanigans.
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
It has been quite a recovery. The dehydration took its toll and I am considerably lethargic. Yesterday I spent in bed. Today I managed to make slow-cooker stew, take my girl to her sing along group, do some laundry, and then fight with my teething munchkin to get her to eat and nap. Now, I am wiped!
I have so much housework. I need to print photos for her grandpa and great grandpa's birthday cards. But right now that just isn't going to happen. Let alone any physical training I would love to do. Priority at this moment is taking the time to heal.
We live in a society that really has an epidemic of not taking care of themselves. There are so many reasons to justify it. Following the crowd. Finding the easiest route. Giving in to temptations. Too busy, mostly. We live in the now without thinking how it will effect us later.
One big area is diet. We are in a rush and grab processed things to go. All we care about is filling our tummies and we don't think about the effects on our bodies later. For many, this is hard to change. We live in a world run by marketing. We get so many mixed messages. Others remain in the dark that a problem even exists. It won't effect them. We are surrounded by people who eat all this processed stuff, and they're fine. We argue that there is nothing we can do because too many changes would be needed. So we try to play the what-I-don't-know-won't-hurt-me card and refuse to educate ourselves properly on healthy eating. Then we don't feel bad about avoiding it. I guess I understand that tactic. I don't grasp politics, and every time I try I just get more confused or frustrated and give up looking into it further. So yes, sometimes ignorance is easier. But it won't get any results.
The facts are out there. Cancer is increasing. Diabetes is increasing. Average weight is increasing. And though there are some things we cannot control, we could most definitely make an impact if we would educate ourselves and make our health, and ultimately our future, a priority. Sure, we might not get it perfectly right, but we could make small changes, especially in the areas we know are an issue, like consuming white bread.
I look at it this way. I had leukemia at the age of 26. The type that I had is more commonly seen in an older population. I was probably born with a chance of having that cancer. If I had taken care of myself, then maybe I would developed it 10 or 20 or even 30 years later. Because of other health reasons, I didn't exercise enough or eat well. As a teenager I treated myself quite horribly (anorexia, alcohol, wrong food choices). And as you already know, I was very anxious and had a lot of stress, which is very burdensome on our system. It wasn't my fault that I had leukemia (it took a bit of convincing to release myself of that accusation). I didn't know that I was predisposed to get it. But my lifestyle did not help to prevent it. If I had taken care of myself and got sick much later someone would have thought, "See, no point in being healthy. You still get sick". Yes, but I believe the when and the how bad and the recovery are factors we can influence.
I think it is like that with all cancers. Manage your tension to lower the stress on all the individual systems so they can function at peak. Eat well in order to feed the body the nutrients it needs while lessening it's fight against harmful molecules. Exercise to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery, improve cholesterol, boost mood, and develop muscular strength, which benefits the battle against so many conditions. Our body is an amazing thing but sometimes it has no energy or resources enough to repair because it is so busy fighting off the damage we give it every day, every meal, every night.
Too bad our bodies couldn't talk to us. "Hey, I have a little issue starting down here in the kidney (or the bowel, or wherever). Could you help me have the resources to fight it by loading up on exercise, sleep, antioxidants, and water?"
But, unfortunately, when our body talks to us, it is very subtle. And we just don't hear it. The "I'm busy" voices are too loud. The "I don't want to miss out" voices are too loud. The "I want what satisfies me" voices are too loud. The "I'll be fine" voices are too loud. The "No one can tell me what I can or can't do" voices are too loud.
Anyone who has gone from unhealthy lifestyle to healthy, or even vice versa, could tell you that it does get easier to hear the requests of our body. Avoid salty take-out and processed for long enough and when you go have some again you will find the sodium level too much for your tongue and your system. I love sushi but find my thirst overwhelming after because I love to drench it in soy sauce mixed with wasabi. My body isn't used to that much, so I have to keep that habit infrequent. (Likewise, if you keep overloading on something, your body will convince you that you are used to it and it won't shock you as much, but the damage is still occurring.)
Being down after food poisoning is a reminder to me that my body is wondrous but fragile. It needs my help. My cooperation instead of me working against it. My body needs me to fuel it, rejuvenate it, energize it, rest it. Sometimes I should sleep more. Let things go. Eat less sugar (I would love to go to the movie and pig out on buttered popcorn and M&Ms like I used to before baby). But I'll keep trying. Hopefully my efforts will mean that we can have a long, happy life. More years to enjoy my children and grandchildren. I don't want to look back and think, if only I had taken the time and invested in myself. I want to help my body now so it can help me live the life I want to live. With adventure, excitement, agility.
Today though, I'll settle for sleep, relaxation, vegetation.
Sunday, 24 February 2013
The internet is my dictionary, cookbook, phonebook, thesaurus, medical book, date book. The list goes on. I told myself my daughter doesn't need to see me glued to the screen constantly. So I have been pulling out my collection of cook books and flipping through the pages. It's been great. I just need to figure out a better way to mark my favorites because I can't just enter a keyword and hit "search". My bookshelf doesn't accommodate that command.
I can't imagine living without this unlimited access of knowledge whenever I want it, even though I didn't grow up with this convenience (how did we do it?). Information overload. But is it reliable search results that I get? I have always been set on facts instead of speculation. I dropped a course in grade 10 because it was too abstract. I wanted concrete answers. So when I ask online I tend to get a little impatient with the filtering required to find something from a reputable source. Not open Q&A. Not blogs.
Yes, not blogs. In the past I was never really fond of blogs. Random people writing about their inclinations. Lay people spreading their wisdom. With no one marking their work. No accountability. How could this be allowed? And what kind of egotistical venture would that be to think someone would care enough to read it?
As someone who always loved writing I have no idea why I wanted to remain scientific and disregard all those who poured out their heart, invested time to be creative, and took the risk. I also don't know why I figured that someone paid to write a book in print or to teach a course was automatically more reliable. I have learned very well that professionals can have skewed beliefs mixed in with their knowledge. Why else would two doctors have completely opposite advice? Or two teachers have a different route to learning? In reality, creativity, opinion, and feelings flow through the blood vessels of every scholar, no matter how hard the institution tries hard to squeeze it out.
Most likely my closed mindedness came from a great fear of failure. I didn't want to follow the incorrect counsel. I didn't want to be judged for believing the wrong recommendation. I had that hanging over me for a long time. No band posters on my wall. I tried to keep my preferences to myself (and really, as a result, never developed them).
When pushing out opinion, my mind was left with too much to think. As a result, I was always observing (in my self conscious way) and had no problems with judgements. I was afraid of missing popularity, but never struggled with proclaiming what I thought was right or wrong. Black and white, where I thought it was easy to draw lines and declare what should be. It is harder when the lines can be bent and stretched. Where are you supposed to be? I wanted to have the rules given to me and I wanted them enforced. None of this changing for the situation or for the camaraderie. This closed me off from relationships.
I discovered blogs when I started cooking and parenting. At first I would skip all the extra words and skim to the recipe. Okay, sometimes I still do when in a hurry. But with all the opinions (oh did that make newborn choices difficult) I have learned these personal pages have more experience. There may not be statistics, but there is real life trial and error. Wouldn't I rather learn from the mistakes of another than go through inconvenience or discomfort or failure first hand?
As time went on I had blogs I would regularly read on how to help my daughter learn and grow and enjoy. I loved the helpful information mixed in with funny stories, embarrassing moments, and revelations. I realized that I didn't need to filter with credentials. I needed to filter with common sense. And reading something I don't agree with isn't necessarily a waste of time. Another opening for some cogitation. And this being opened to thinking makes me more open to my creativity (the opposite it true as well. Stifle creativity and cognitive thinking is hindered).
So I will write. Maybe no one will read. Maybe those who do won't like. But I'll be doing what I enjoy, just like millions of others have the opportunity to do right at their fingertips. Now, maybe I should go to the museums so I'll get some inspiration to paint or draw.
Thursday, 21 February 2013
And all I wanted to do was turn it into a pity party. With all of you invited.
But I have had enough of those. Unfortunately for me, with a large guest list. I know all the customary pity party games. "Who Has it Worse?" "Pin the Pout on the Scowly Face." "Bitch-Fest Bingo." No more. So, instead my daughter and I sang and danced to some worship music, pigged out on fruit (I won't get into why we couldn't eat the dinner I worked on), and had a tickle fight.
I feel a little better.
But what I really want to do is tell someone my problems. Have them say, "Poor girl, no wonder." But I will refrain. Yes, there are times you need to let it out. But often it just feeds the fire. I know. I have fed that beast enough in my life. Negative thinking, nagging, grumbling, critiquing. Gas on the fire just making anger and resentment burn hotter. I have decided to stomp on it instead. Dance on it actually.
Positive thinking doesn't erase problems. But it sure puts them in a better perspecutive. And a positive attitude helps deal with everything else going on. Like a clingy toddler. Or a grumpy husband. Or spilled milk. If I am a ticking time bomb, they may wonder why their actions warrant such an explosive response (well, the milk doesn't wonder, because it doesn't care). They don't see the fuse path in my day and don't know how close I am to the match in the powder barrel.
We view our actions through our intentions, but unfortunately others can't see inside of us. Our excuses are played like a movie in our mind that we can rewind to double check. But we can only show our contender the book cover. When viewing our actions, that is simply what they see. Our actions. So I better work on feeding patience, forgiveness, and love.
That made me smile just visualizing those ideas in comparison.
I have been feeling considerably "up" all month. I have been including exercise and stretching, reading, prayer and devotions, and creativity. It makes a big impact on my demeanor. I have always known that. When I feel great I tell myself I could never stop working out because I know how beneficial cardio and strength training are on my mental and emotional health. Then I always end up hitting a wall and being shocked that I have neglected myself again.
It often isn't a time thing. It is a plain old priority thing. "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15). Oh yes, what a conundrum. How often have I said to myself, "I should really..." Like right now. I should really not finish this piece of chocolate mousse cake my husband brought me, as half was quite sufficient. But, slurp, I most definitely will. And I'll probably regret the last few bites as my tongue suffers sugar overload. Sigh.
Tomorrow I will start with a jog. I'll make sure that I build up my "joy tank" so that the unfortunate things can either be dealt with responsively or let go. I'll approach the day with a smile because I am blessed to have the opportunity to do so. And hopefully I will be able to prove to myself that just like exercise increases energy, feeding the spirit of peace will bring peace into my life. My girl and I are going to have a super-duper day tomorrow. We hope you do, too.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Casual, unnacountable, simple acquaintances, like an annoying coworker or a neighbor that is amicable but not your age or "group".
Short-lived, impacting, temporary connections, like someone passing through your church or a friend-of-a-friend you had a blast with one night.
Deep, long lasting, purposeful friendships that you would hate to lose, like your high school soul mate or weekly coffee date.
The classification is usually obvious. Hopefully the same interpretation on either side of the exchange. But sometimes there could be more. At times the ebb and flow of an affiliation just is, and no attention is payed to the potential bond. Other times it is clear there is a connection, something in common, and a realization that there could, just maybe, be more. Then life gets in the way. Busy. Sick. Pre-occupied. And so it happens-- a budding friendship is put on halt. Planted but never watered. Left to wilt.
Maybe because I live in a small town this happens more often. Maybe it is a phenomenon eveywhere. But people I want to get to know more keep moving. And I am left kicking myself over the missed opportunity. Again. I made somewhat of an effort to spend more time with someone that I enjoyed. And when they moved I was determined that in the future I would aspire to be more involved with the next person who strikes my fancy. But I keep running into the same situation.
It isn't anyone's fault. Yet our "nice" society doesn't make it any easier.
"We should get together for coffee!"
Does either one really mean that? I was contemplating that if we were more honest we could weed out those never-even-a-chance relationships and spend more time getting aquainted with the real possibilities. Would you like to go for a walk sometime? No, I don't like walking and I would like it even less in your company. Uh oh. That brings up an unfriendly visual.
In all reality, some great bonds have started on the wrong foot, some enriching connections have occured with people who didn't at first seem to have anything to offer. Strong attachments often required quite a push to get going. If we instantly disregarded opening up to people who gave us a reason to close ourselves off, then we would miss some of the best opportunities (Oh the thought of how common this tragedy occurs! Misunderstandings. Bad days. Guilty by association).
Therefore, we are left with this arduous task of initiating deeper ties that sometimes backfires. Sometimes it hurts. On occasion we just don't bother thinking any exchange is worth expanding upon.
They can pop out of anywhere. Work, school, church, exercise groups, the bar, the hairdresser. I have some wonderful friendships that span what seem to be too wide of age gap. I spend time with some people who only connect with me in certain areas. My snowshoeing/ hiking buddies. My chatty time gals. But that is why I am not like a school age girl wanting a bestest bff to talk about everything and hang out with every day. I don't want to sound critical, but I think I would have trouble finding anyone who would fit that bill. Just look at my marriage. I didn't let someone in forever until I was 29.
Possibly this means nothing to you. You don't struggle with choosing which friendly voices to give more time because you don't have any casual relationships to develop. Or maybe you just hate people. But if you put aside differences, if you let go of fears, if you put yourself out there, you may discover some growth.
Relationships really stretch people. The very reason some people avoid them. But the best reason to keep plugging along. You can read a million books. Take a plethora of schooling. Travel the world. But personal advancement doesn't occur along the way without another person. Plain and simple.
And the deeper you let it delve the more opportunities for your mind to expand. Opinions to be tested. Beliefs to be questioned (or solidified). Different ways of doing things to be discovered (my husband has sure tested my extensive list of oddities). Walls breaking down. Lives being enriched.
I would still be a neurotic, obsessive compulsive worrier if I didn't have relationships to push me out of the box. Like my fear of raw meat being intentionally pushed by a friend who ATE some in front of me. I wouldn't enjoy many of the foods I eat (not raw meat, by the way) or activities I love without people in my life who introduced me to them. I wouldn't be writing if I didn't meet friends and family who put themselves out there. I know growing hurts sometimes, but I can say first hand as an ex-panicky-depressed-stressed person that man, life has more! Give me opportunities to grow! So worth it!
I encourage you to look at your life. How much time do you spend with others? How many people do you let in? How much do those people challenge you?
I will continue to try to build relationships. And I'll ask God to help me see which ones to follow after because there are just too many possibilities and not enough time.
Would you like to go for coffee?
Monday, 18 February 2013
I had to wait some time to put that to the test. Quite a while, actually. I didn't bake and really had no reason to prioritize such a purchase. When I got married about 10 years later I declared that we were tossing all the old muffin tins and cookie sheets and frying pans (torturous words to someone who would rather keep everything until it was unusable). We were going to get uncontaminated ones. And we were going to keep them in pristine condition.
It didn't take long to discover how arduous this task would be. For us at least. My husband tends to overcook. And I am simply proficient at forgetting that I was cooking in the first place. Tossing another batch of garlic bread. Scraping the burnt part off the grill cheese. Again. And sometimes yummy things have juices that bubble over the pan and sizzle in the hot oven leaving crispy spots even though the bulk of the meal is cooked just right. I give up.
And now my husband uses tinfoil to lower my frustration over the stains that are already on the bakeware. How kind of him to adjust how he does something to accommodate my preferences. Likewise, a reminder to watch what I fuss about. I know, here we go overanalyzing something as simple as trying to avoid staining my dishes...
Early in marriage I remember telling a friend about a discussion with my husband concerning changes that needed to be made (it could have the contents of our kitchen cupboards, but I am sure we were discussing something more crucial). She counteracted with some very good advice. Be careful what you complain about. She had grumbled to her husband when he would buy her flowers, citing the budget and how it didn't contain room for such nice, yet unnecessary, splurges. Then, when the flowers stopped, she missed how special they were. She got her way, but it wasn't satisfying.
I chewed on that counsel for a while. I was quite the seasoned complainer. I thought about the refinements that I wanted and how I would really feel if they came to fruition. The realization came that I didn't want as much as thought I did!
For instance, my husband is not organized. It is not in his nature. If I were to expect him to put in the effort to get things as tidy and put together and presentable as I'd like (a very unascertainable level I am embarrassed to admit), then what would he have to do? He couldn't be the hospitable, generous, serving, busy, get-out-there-and-help-when-needed man that is his nature. He wouldn't have the time. "Oh, sorry man, your car won't start? I'd love to help but I need to tidy up from my snack here and then put all my purchases away before my wife gets back or she'll flip." Yah, that would be good. Unfortunately, as I type I speculate that he has had to say something like this to someone...
I used to laugh at the key chain, sticker, or button that would state, "I am too busy to be organized". I thought that there were some obvious missed priorities. And even worse, why would someone want to admit that?
But being with an amazing man with too much on his plate I have realized that if he let enough tasks go in order to make room for always putting things back right away and keeping all papers and supplies and tools in perfect order, someone would be missing out. And he wouldn't be happy.
That's why God puts men like him with organized women like me. So we can whip them into shape... I mean, so we can support them. Help them do what they do best. Not bring them down and stifle their strengths. Ugh. Can't I just organize my own stuff and he takes care of his? Somewhere else. Hmmm. Doesn't sound like a close family atmosphere. We'll have to work together on this. And though I'll nag, "Put that away!" I won't expect him to be able to morph into Mr Methodized. I wouldn't be satisfied with the transfer of superhuman strengths. He's my hero right where he is.
And I won't expect myself to have like-new bakeware. I'd rather get some really good use out of them. Hors d'oeuvre a lá burnt, anyone?
Sunday, 17 February 2013
Maybe I'll step into a home that appears spotless. One of those homes where you don't want to dirty the soap or ruffle the towel. Everything is in its place. Until you look in a basement room. Or open a back closet. On the other hand, maybe I will be justifiably impressed, but the truth is you knew I was coming, and so the army commands started in order to get all the troops involved in getting every last corner ship shape.
If you come to my house, you will undoubtably have some surprises. You will question things (so glad I no longer have to explain why there are miniature motorcycles, or crotch rockets, in my living room). I know it'll be far from ideal. Even the night I blogged about House Work or Sleep? after staying up until midnight cleaning, my husband was impressed enough to leave me a nice note, yet I still had a pile of clutter by the coffee maker. My mirrors remained dirty. My fridge was quite disgusting. I know I worked hard, but what would you think?
We all pass judgements. Whether we make choices based on them or not. You may wonder why someone doesn't put more time into their potential and appearance. Or why someone doesn't grasp that their attitude is trying to be around. Or why someone can be unreliable without any remorse.
But, what it all comes down to is, no one is perfect. We all have the things that pull us away from what we need to concentrate on. We all have distractions, emergencies, unexpected priorities. We can't do every single thing we want, strengthen all possible relationships in our life, be so well rounded that we are faultless in each area that matters to us. I have thought in the past that we could aim for this. That my home had to always be kept up while being a top notch wife and mother. It was a little too overwhelming and actually achieved the opposite. So glad I got over that before I discovered Pinterest.
Let's just say that perfection did exist. Who would be the judge of what that would be? Is it the thin woman with no fat or the curvy one with breasts and round hips? Is it the time efficient procedures or the quality product?
What works for one would not work for another. What would really help an individual would hinder another. What would encourage someone could distract someone else. Concentrating wholly on a particular task may seem admirable to one but a waste to another. We all have individual lives that have built up our personalities one slow step at a time from the moment we were born. How can you expect to undo the over 18 million minutes I have already experienced in my life so that I will exhaustively understand you? Then there are differences in the palates of all our senses. The world couldn't function if we all wanted to be race car drivers. And the world would be pretty boring if everyone's favorite color was red.
When I moved in with my family our house had an abundance of red. I found it quite overwhelming, but of course my husband appreciated the look and saw nothing wrong with it. He also favored brass. Me, not so much. Like every other pair of human beings, we differ in our ideas in many areas. To me, a perfect house would have no stains or dust or fingerprints (can we replace the heavily tracked marble floor in the bathroom?). To my husband, perfection would be every dish put away and the laundry baskets all empty. I don't even get to the bottom of the basket. Pretty much ever.
Our aim shouldn't be perfection. Our perfectionism may hinder the comfort of another and the resulting connection that could form. A perfection seeking parent would stifle the creativity, and in turn the emotions and concentration, of a growing child. A church aimed at perfection will only create judgement and fear instead of bringing people into a relationship with God. If I wanted perfection I wouldn't get around to posting my blog.
Preferably, aim for excellence. Doing the best we can do. Finding our strengths and living in them, taking advantage of them, flourishing in them. Finding our weaknesses and having patience with them, remaining honest with them, and being willing to work on them. Refusing to let our past be an excuse. Refusing to base our growth on others and what they accomplish or what they have.
When I go to your home I will appreciate your individuality. I will enjoy experiencing our contrasting idiosyncrasies. Because I am meant to be me. You are meant to be you. And no one is closer to perfection than the other because perfection doesn't exist.
Saturday, 16 February 2013
I burn at least a CD a month of photos and have purchased numerous replacement rechargeable batteries. Should they burn out so quickly? Oh, yes, I do take that many photos. Bugs, plants, and views; my daughter and my family; my dog; myself. Yes, myself. I actually think it is delightful to be in pictures. Especially when I am with someone who feels the same. Maybe because I cherish a good reminiscing. And when I look back at pictures I'd like to think that I was there too.
I often get caught up looking at photographs. It starts with an agenda. A list of chores or items I would like to, and probably could, accomplish if I used my time wisely.
Then I come across them. Online, on my computer, in the living room, stored in the closet, or on my wall (I guarantee I have more photos on my wall than you!). Next thing I know, the filing wasn't done because I just flipped through a pile of photos a few times. Or the email wasn't sent because I just browsed Facebook albums. Or the bible devotions failed to start because I relived all the photos on my phone.
Wedding photos. Get togethers. Holidays. Special occasions. Trips... Memories on file. I love to open these files. See all the things I never thought I'd do. All the wonderful people I never thought I'd be close to. Life is full of countless blessings. I love to reminisce because I know that. I know that I should be grateful for each opportunity. I have been given more days than some, more opportunities than others. I don't know what tomorrow will, or will not, bring.
I'll be very honest here. There was a time my motives for photographs weren't out out of love and gratitude. I wanted to prove that I had a life. That even though I wasn't a good friend as a teenager, I had developed good friends. Even though I had made mistakes, my life wasn't a waste. I didn't treat myself like crap like I used to. Instead, I took care of myself. Even though I got my "family" later, I had an amazing family.
But I know existence has two sides. What you choose to show, and what life really contains. And most people also know that enigma. The smiling face could actually be in pain. The adventurous person may actually be afraid. The wonderful life could actually exist out of photos because someone hates their picture taken. Or just never thinks of if.
I don't take pictures to prove anything anymore. I take them because I love to remind my husband of times we shared. Because I want to increase my daughter's relationship with her family. Because I enjoy art and nature. Because we all-- most of us-- like to keep our fond memories. So I try to catch as many as I can. "Wait! Stop. Do that again. I have to take a picture!"
I can get neurotic trying to get these photos too. Like at my step daughter's graduation when I didn't get any that I was pleased with. Or at the events I wasn't permitted to take my camera (what?! If I don't have photos it didn't really happen!). Or the fact that every Christmas I have a melt down when I am not getting the happy family photo I want and declare we just won't do one this year. Then I feel guilty every time someone comments how merry we all look.
My husband had to get used to the constant clicks in his face. And to smiling at that clicking intruder. For the first year it required me pinching his bottom so that he would laugh to get a big smile. It totally worked. But then I guess he realized the camera came along with me. Actually, he understood it was pretty much attached to my arm.
It would be marvelous if the camera I took most of my pictures with could be of higher quality, but I just haven't gotten there yet. I can't seem to spend so much on something so fragile. I want it accessible. Not in a padded box. And I've suffered too many near heart attacks thinking I lost the less fancy one I have. So I just keep hoping technology will improve and a better point-and-shoot, drop-proof, and water-resistant, AKA, take-anywhere-without-worrying camera will be available soon. Until then I'll just take advantage of digital's benefit of taking a trillion photos and saving the favorites. More tasks to take my time.
Friday, 15 February 2013
I never used to like housework. Well, I don't like it. But I love the result. I have always loved the result. There was a time that chores would make me quite moody. I loved immaculate, but I really didn't want to work for it. I wanted everyone else to clean up after themselves and keep it sanitary, no matter how busy they were or what else they needed to do, or whether they agreed with my definition of clean in the first place! And when I had to do the up-keep housework I would get bitchy. It took me a while to realize why. My step dad was quite an army commander when it came to things around the home. My brother and I were not allowed to talk when doing tasks together. We couldn't argue (difficult for siblings). And we most definitely could not laugh. If we did, it meant we weren't doing the work. And punishment ensued. It made doing routine things very stressful. And down right unenjoyable. My default became getting indignant as soon as I had to take any responsibility for getting the results I wanted.
Being married to a very busy, hardworking, generous, and um... disorganized man, I had to chip in. So I did. Begrudgingly at first. At first? Who am I kidding?! For a while! Good thing he is also patient and forgiving. The poor guy had to do his own laundry so he had something to wear to work. Not that he complained!
As time went on I started to let go of the "roots" that brought the anger. I realized my selfish and disrespectful attitude. I accepted my task and discovered it can be very rewarding. Now, standing in the kitchen next to the hum of the dishwasher is always a therapeutic reminder that I have grown. I have a family I love. And this is our home. And cleaning late at night (without a helper) is productive serenity.
My daughter is 15 1/2 months now and never stops. She has developed a gleeful screech. She babbles incessantly (with an amazing number of new words every day). She bangs things together. And she gets frustrated. She can do more than she ever has before, but she just can't quite get that lid on the jar straight. She just can't quite fit that large stuffy into the cupboard. She just can't quite force another book into that oven mitt (we got oven mitts from Grandma for Christmas and she claimed them). So, though she is a tremendous joy that repeatedly makes me laugh and endlessly amazes me, she is quite loud. And I kind of like peaceful. A little more than I like sleep :) It is now 1:00 am. Good night.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
The site says, "Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie." And it most definitely will. I am beyond excited! Seriously, I think wedding, being in a musical, and baby were ahead of this. Well, I could probably come up with other things, but obviously I'll be as happy, and as dirty, as a pig in slop!
At this point I don't have any major fear or worry about the event. I really do not want a blistering day. Actually, cool would be ideal. (Though not cold. Then it will be too hard to use our hands. I have quite the specific request for God and Mother Nature, don't I?) I have had heat exhaustion and would like to elude reliving that experience. After running a 12K on a warm day I threw up. Quite unpleasant. Mudder day there will be heights but I can't imagine it comparing to bungee jumping (I really hope I don't let out a scream like that again). There are some things I anticipate will be uncomfortable. Like an ice bath. I have swam in a glacier water at the top of Mt Begbie. I felt like there was ice pushed up my girly bits. And it took its time melting!
I know there might be something I won't be able to do. But the other day I had a moment where I had the premonition that I will get scared. There is a possibility I may have to be coerced to continue. I could need a little push. This realization came when snowshoeing with a friend with my 15 month old on my back. We had to cross a little snow covered bridge. Problem was the snow was in a mound. Not nice and flat. And I didn't want to do it for a moment. My legs froze. I felt silly. But, I did it anyway. And I'll Mudder anyway... Right?!
I used to be scared of everything. When I was young I couldn't look anyone in the eye. Panic attacks. Immobile by trepidation. Butterflies from my stomach right up to my brain overcoming my thoughts and pounding in my ears and taking up all my ability to comprehend anything and sucking up all my oxygen... Whew! I didn't get my drivers license until I was 27 years old. My legs were in so much pain after the exam because they were so tense.
When I got leukemia in 2004 I decided to change my life. Actually, I started to work on things right before diagnoses for some reason. I tried skiing and was so terrified I literally passed out on the hill. Very embarrassing. I got my driver's license and started to try new things.
The biggest step I made was to tell myself "fear" or "I can't" would not be a valid excuse anymore. If I had the time and cared about it, I would do it. My capacity grew by facing my fears and changing "I can't do it" to "How can I do it?" This was a breakthrough in my faith, friendships, time management, and volunteer life. My poor husband had to deal with my stress as I learned how to overcome some of my mountains (Try-Zilla! Roarrr!). Good thing I started the steps before meeting him in 2005. He tends to push me and have little sympathy for my excuses. Come to think of it, I had absolutely no intention to bungee or to swim in glacier water. But he did it and then persuaded me. Oh, don't get me wrong. He is loving and supporting. He just can't see why something easy for him is hard for another. Just what my small personality needed. I wouldn't have volunteered the extent I have without him. Silly me wouldn't have even bought my first car without his push. But I can't rely on his lack of empathy to keep getting me past hurdles. One reason this is an all girls venture. Us girls are going to support each other. Only man involved will be Jesus, who I am sure will be hearing a lot of words from me that day!
As I have grown those scary or difficult things have gotten easier. If you told me ten years ago what I'd do I wouldn't believe you. But living as an emotional human being, sometimes I take steps back. Like being in a crowd and not talking to anyone. Or spending hours preparing for something simple. Or the big list of things I should be doing but still don't (that storage room isn't going to organize itself). I just have to remember to say, "I CAN!" Tough Mudder will be a good refresher.
Monday, 11 February 2013
I have definitely improved from my old days of constant ruminating and snowballing thoughts. As I mournfully recall how much I tormented myself, I hope you are not very familiar with this habit. I hope that though you have had those overanalyzing moments, worriment is not the norm. Like going over some silly thing you said that was misunderstood 10 years ago. Is that really productive?
I have certainly grown. Getting older. Developing substantial relationships. Establishing priorities. Taking better care of myself. Learning to trust God. Sometimes though, I get trapped in the "What if?"
What if I had moved away? Furthered my education? Gave that person more time? Prioritized developing a talent? Spent my money differently? Married someone with more in common? (Gasp! How could I think such a thing!)
If I let myself learn from the pain of others around me I can decide to concentrate on better things than silly questions in my head that can't be concretely answered. Life can be a sorrowful journey and I hate to see what some people I care for have to face. When I see the ache of loss in those who no longer have their mother or son or husband, I am reminded to forgive and to enjoy the moments I have with my family. When I hear about struggles my friends feel they may not be able to push through I think how petty I can be in my own life sometimes. Petty. Oh the things I can put my back up about. So petty. Because really, the grass may be greener on the other side, but that grass still requires time and work to stay green.
I may clash with my better half sometimes. But at least I have a man to hug me, kiss me, tell me he loves me. A devoted man who is a fun-loving, affectionate daddy. I may wish I had a yard or a laundry room or a spot to park my car. But the fact is I have a home for my daughter to run around and overturn. A home that is cozy and safe (um, usually). I may long for a phone that would stop saying "No Service" and that isn't cracked or missing functions. But really, I actually have a smart phone I am typing away on in bed. I may not be pleased with myself sometimes for mistakes I have made and things I should have done. But I am learning and growing. I am a capable mom and a valuable employee. And I am working on being a better family member and friend.
Maybe you are content where you are presently. Maybe you are undergoing a bunch of crap. But think before you take drastic measures. Will you run from a problem just to run into it again? Do you need to concentrate on what really matters? Is God telling you something you must hear? Will your breakthrough come if you actually pushed through? Every bad situation can continue and multiply as more crap or it can propel us toward better. You stay down or you get back up. Letting go. Forgiving. Loving. Trusting. Experiencing. Stopping the "What if?"
It reminds me of a poem I wrote when I was 16...
A bowl of cherries
A piece of cake
Or maybe you need a break?
All messed up
Full of shit
Life is what you make of it.
Yes it's short
But have a ball
And don't expect to enjoy it all.
Ups and downs
Life's not fair?
Well, it's not an easy chair.
Learn as you live
Try as you go through.
You you can make it better -- true?
It took me a while to truly believe I could make it better. Now... What if I actually got enough sleep...?
Thursday, 7 February 2013
Like most with a creative personality, I have also always been quite critical of my work. I produce something I am not pleased with and as a result feel like I wasted time. Then I no longer put the time in. Then I don't improve. Then I like my work less. Ugh. Crumpled paper. Deleted text. Erased video. A self-depreciating cycle that ends up stifling the God inspired part of me that needs to grow. A true artist knows that perseverance will get the results. With undaunted determination I could be whatever I wanted to be (...eventually). I keep forgetting that though.
Now my life revolves around my inquisitive toddler. Discovering, imagining, and inventing are in her genes. By the time her mom started school she was writing her own songs. Her resourceful dad is a MacGyver. My girl has a large number of musical and artistic relatives.
Unfortunately, there is a pattern. The grandma who didn't sing for so long. The uncle who doesn't believe his sketches are amazing and therefore stopped drawing. The grandfather who doesn't believe in himself. The sister too afraid of making a mistake... The family is bursting with talent waiting to be expressed. Waiting to be discovered. Waiting to flourish. Waiting, waiting, waiting...
It is a given-- she will be creative. So I want to encourage her to enjoy it. Experiment with it. Embrace it. She needs to see me embrace it.
So here I am. Writing again. Delighting in choir. Getting back to painting. Every year I paint a street banner. This year for the healthy living theme I painted a picture of my niece climbing over a log. Maybe it's my new goal of portraying a positive self image. Maybe it's the satisfaction of writing again spilling into other creative venues. But for once I actually LIKED my painting. Perhaps that is just what I needed to keep going.
Fingerprinting, mud pies, cutting and pasting... here we come.
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
And yet it multiplies every day
I am not fibbing when I say you're perfection
This sentiment could not be taken away
For I dreamed of you so very long
Your laugh and the twinkle in your eyes
But this level of beauty I did not expect
Which will come out in more ways I surmise
Since so young you hug with the cutest blink
A smile written on your whole face
A toddler already with a sweet heart
And such a loving embrace
A gentle touch and curious approach
Things I should expect in a young doll
But my pride is already overflowing
When we've barely started at all
I look forward to every discovery
Each day with it's wonders anew
Books and places and food and people
And songs and dreams with you
I'll tire the world of my pride and joy
As I share the most amazing legacy
The best miracle to flood my life
The gift that has completed me
My biggest prayer is you will always know
How you've overtaken my heart
And how I'll miss everything about you
If we ever are apart
So keep a place in your life for me
Let me share in your joy and pain
And let me tell you I love you dear
In all the ways I try to show you
Let me tell you and show you again
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Today is a good day. For many reasons. My daughter and I went to a Mother Goose group. I spent a few hours painting, which is rare and very relaxing. We had a pleasant dinner with the in-laws which my daughter really enjoyed (and I am sure everyone enjoyed her). My amazing brother in law and sister in law had their second child today. And bonus, it is on my husband's birthday.
I love birthdays. If I could go big every time I would. We have celebrated in Las Vegas, we have cross country skied on Lake Louise, we have gone dogsledding. There have been big parties, always with some sort of surprise. Not always a well thought out one. Once I had a surprise party in a nice restaurant a little drive out. It was a great turnout. But I blindfolded him for about half an hour as I drove him there ("You are turning left on such-and-such road, right on such-and-such road..." He had it for a while but got a turn wrong and the resulting confusion was so written on his face even with his eyes not visible). I didn't think about the effect on his vision. After we yelled, "Surprise!" and took the blindfold off he didn't know how many people were there (or who), or really what "there" looked like at first because he couldn't see. Reminds me of a "Myth Busters" episode where they put a pirates patch on one eye and then when the "pirate" went into a dark room and switched the patch their eye adjusted instantly and they could maneuver and fight in the dark if needed. My pirate would have been ready to have his party in a dark room. Maybe next time I blindfold someone for a surprise I'll get everyone else to sit in the dark so we can slowly up the light and adjust together...
Anyway... Back to today. I was worried I didn't go big enough on my husband's birthday. Finances and time constraints have changed since previous years. I got him tickets to the "Price is Right Live Show", which he had wanted to attend in Vegas but we didn't (thankfully, as we couldn't possibly fit any more that trip). This guy can tell you the price of your grocery list pretty darn close. (So why can't I get him to budget or meal plan?) When I showed him his gift he exclaimed, "Really!?" He is pretty pumped. But then he asked what we'll do with our daughter. He's hoping she could come. Such a doting dad.
Of course, having my daughter around has really brightened up my day. Always a new adventure. She really wants to "help". Whether that be by loading the washing machine (with things like band-aids and tampons from my cupboard). Or by putting laundry in the basket (even if it is clean clothes straight from the drawer). Or by doing dishes (do I really need to explain this one? The step stool seemed like a great idea but I think the water is wrecking the floor). I don't mind things taking longer. I enjoy every moment with her.
I am so glad for the miracle of having her. Another reason today is amazing. I received an email letting me know that my cancer blood work results are back to normal. Okay, maybe the email was yesterday, but the grateful feeling is still fresh. Successful treatment. Good thing, because for years they didn't want me to stop treatment to have a baby with the worry that the medication wouldn't work the second time. I wasn't worried. I had faith. I knew there were other treatment options. I was informed on worse case. I was prepared to go ahead and have a baby but my husband was waiting for the doctor's permission.
In 2004 when I was diagnosed with Leukemia I was of course devastated but I was grateful there was a one a day pill available for me that resulted in no chemo or radiation. This pill had just been approved in Canada three years prior. Even though I was stuck on that pill I had hope of having a baby because my reproductive system was still capable. That hope lowered to almost nonexistent sometimes, but it was something I had to hold on to. Everyone who believed was praying for me. We eventually tried to adopt. An unsuccessful investment. But we had to work together to get the paperwork done and analyze ourselves as a couple, as parents. We will definitely be better parents to our daughter because of that.
In September of 2010 I told the doctors that I wouldn't wait forever. Being a mom was a priority. So they finally said let's do this. I stopped my medication in December. I was pregnant the beginning of February. We had our healthy girl in November of 2011. I had come to terms through the adoption process that I would have to give formula. But now I had the opportunity to start on breast milk. It was a painful, rocky road! A 4cm deep abscess that had to be drained daily the week of christmas. It hurt more than childbirth. Once I finally had feeding going smoothly I didn't want to stop. All that work to quit? What was intended to be just a start turned into a few months, then turned into continuing until she started food. Then it turned into going until her first birthday so that formula wasn't required. Prayer brought the baby we desired into the world, with her daddy's red hair and large hands, and I had the blessing of breast feeding her a year! At that year there was no more pushing it. They told me that my blood work was changing. I was still in remission. But it wasn't staying that way.
So it was time to return to meds. I was a tiny bit apprehensive, though I had no choice. In 2004 I was no where near fit or healthy. I had been up to 185 pounds before hit with the cancer. And the pills were hard on me. Some side effects were short lived. Others lessoned over months. Others took years. I remember complaining to the doctors that I couldn't do something during the day AND evening more than a day in a row because then I'd be out for a day. They told me to adjust my schedule. Cut things out. Listen to my body. I didn't like that idea. There was just too much to do! So I started watching my diet and exercise and getting my body stronger.
It worked. I think if you met me now you wouldn't believe I was the girl with the notes to skip Phys Ed. I was the girl with poor attendance from headaches, stomach aches, back aches, fibromyalgia. I remember in 2005, at 28 years old, my exhilaration in finally being able to ride my bike up a big hill without feeling like I was dying. And that was just a start. A life of poor health meant working through so many weak muscles that would get strained. Weak ankles. Tight calves. Pinched sciatic. Plantar Faichsaitis. Sore knees. Ugh. But I tend to be a little determined. And that determination turned into loving the achievement of something new I never would have believed in my life. An addiction to the runners high replaced... well... laziness. A thirst for adventure replaced the fear. Run a race. Check. Be a lead in a musical. Check. Fill winter with outdoor activities. Check. Camp below the peaks of Begbie and swim in the glacial water. Check.
And it paid off. Almost 9 years after starting those cancer meds for the first time I started them again. How was I going to take care of a toddler feeling ill or exhausted? (I know, I know... no sympathy deserved there as I knew the risk.) And this time I barely noticed. The occasional muscle cramp. Tiny bit of ick. But I feel amazing. Stronger and healthier than ever. And it is working. My counts are good. It's a good day.
This may sound morbid, but now that I have those blood work results post baby I don't think I would undo it if I could. My experience with cancer completely changed my life. It taught me to let people in and help. It taught me to relax and enjoy the opportunities-- or take the initiative and get out there and enjoy them. It taught me to take care of myself. It initiated the passion to discover fundraising and volunteering. My life really started then and I am excited for where it is taking me and who I get to spend time with along the way.
Hello. Welcome to my blog. Already a learning experience as I can only get it to work in HTML. I know nothing about HTML...
Why Windy, Lindy? Many reasons. One being the sudden desire to do this, at 10:45 at night, with my husband and daughter fast asleep next to me. If nothing else, it'll add to the long list of forms of procrastination available to me. If I didn't catch this passing inspiration it would have blown away, with no telling when or if it would ever return. But really, me as a writer? It'll be winds of change. Writers talk about their passions, their beliefs, their strenghths. I may just contradict myself. I have my solids, my unchangeables, like my love for the outdoors, for God, for family. But really, one day I can conquer the world, the next I feel so insignificant. One day I am certain something is right, the next I am opened to the reasonings behind the incomprehensible actions of others-- and suddenly not only are they comprehensible, but they now became the new right way.
Sure, I am a woman. I am growing and learning. I am an overanalyzing, overachieving human being. This lady is bound to change her mind. Add a husband who really epitomizes opposites attract and I am forced to see things in contrast to what I saw before. Throw a toddler in the mix and my learning and changing is exemplified by my great need to be a wonderful mom combined with my lack of sleep (why am I writing at 11pm?). Oh, motherhood. Necessity breeds growth, doesn't it? I needed more patience, more organization, more of an iron gut (please, little girl, don't share your food with the dog).
My loving family really hasn't been what started the rustling up there in my brain. My life has been very eventful. Sometimes soap opera-ish. It has taken recovery to calm the storm. Who knows how much I'll share. I always figure people are like me, wanting to understand the root, the chain of events. Not just little random tidbits. Oh yes, tidbits. I'll probably just torture some with tidbits.
Finally, the winds of Lindy may obviously imply that my thoughts, not necessarily face to face but undoubtably on paper, most definitely are long winded. And changing direction. They will flutter where they want, maybe from one topic to the next, maybe coherent enough for you to learn a bit about me (hopefully once in a while a bit about life). My life is changing, loving, exploring. One thing that has never changed is my desire to write. I don't see writing a book anytime soon (though I would love an autobiography, I fear offending people), so I'll settle for a blog. We'll see where this goes.