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Until It Is Carved In Stone [an Excerpt from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach]

It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Visiting old cemeteries can be very illuminating. They are so still and silent. So quiet. Old cemeteries remind us that until it is carved in stone, realizing our heart’s desire is possible every day if we recognize what it is that makes us happy.

In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town a deeply poignant scene takes place in a graveyard. Ghosts comfort the young heroine, who has recently died in childbirth. Emily, still longing for the life she has just left, wishes to revisit it one ordinary, “unimportant” day in her life. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much the living take for granted.

Eventually her visit is too much for her to bear. “I didn’t realize,” she confesses mournfully, “all that was going on and we never noticed … Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners … Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking … and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths … and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”

This is the season of Epiphany, when the renewal of light and revelation are celebrated in the liturgy of the Catholic, Episcopal, and Eastern Orthodox churches. On our new path we seek everyday epiphanies — occasions on which we can experience the Sacred in the ordinary — and come to the awakening, as Emily finally does, that we cannot longer afford to throw away even one “unimportant” day by not noticing the wonder of it all. We have to be willing to discover and then appreciate the authentic moments of happiness available to all of us every day.

[excerpted from the book Simple Abundance; A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach]

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Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

via Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet.

I have had many really good teachers in my life, but the one that comes to the forefront of my mind was my elementary school librarian – Mrs. Rayburn.  Our friendship blossomed because of an unusual situation; my elementary school had a lady come in once a week and tell bible stories in class. Because of my unusual biblical education as a Kindergartner, I often ended up in theological disputes with this little old lady. Because of that, she wouldn’t have me in the classroom when she told her bible stories, so from that point on, I spent those days in the Library with Mrs. Rayburn. I could already read in Kindergarten, and she took that ability and turned it into a serious love of literature. We began to meet before school every morning, to review the book I had taken home the night before and to get a new book for that night. I devoured everything she gave me. By the end of that year, I was already reading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and other young fiction. That love of reading has never left me. In addition, Mrs. Rayburn became a fixture in my life outside of school, as I would often be invited to spend weekends at her home with her and Mr. Rayburn. You see, Mrs. Rayburn was estranged from her son, because he had embraced the very religion I was raised in. I feel really good because I helped her understand the religion more, and to become reconciled with her son after she realized it wasn’t bad, like she had been predisposed to believe. She had a real affection for me, and the feeling was mutual. She took on the role of a grandparent to me, as all my grandparents were passed on by the time I was 3 or 4 years old. I stayed in touch with her over the years, even after I moved away from Appalachia and to Cincinnati. I loved her dearly and respected what she did.

A little bit more about Inez (that’s her first name): She was a teacher in one-room schoolhouses when my parents were little. She taught my father in the 40’s in one of those schoolhouses, and she had to travel a long way each direction just to teach there. She was head librarian over several schools and often traveled from school to school visiting the libraries.

Now, as an adult and a parent, I have been volunteering in our elementary media center for three years. Every day that I’m there, helping children find literature to light up their imaginations, shelving books, setting up displays to catch their eyes, I feel Mrs. Rayburn with me. She always went above and beyond her simple duties as an educator and loved all the kids she worked with.

2013 – A New Beginning

It’s been quite a while since I blogged regularly. I have been feeling the urge to share my thoughts again in a venue where I can get feedback from others; and just really feeling the need to express myself in writing, the way I used to.

I have a lot of things to update regarding this blog, but the past week, I have been considering “New Year’s Resolutions”.  I’m not really very good at keeping resolutions, but I want to live this next 12 months with some sort of intention and plan. I haven’t really ever done that before. But I really want 2013 to be SPECIAL. Noteworthy. A time of transformation and a new direction.
So instead of making resolutions, I would like to state intentions. Specifically, I am going to state intentions – ranging from intensely personal, to family-related, to finance, to just-for-fun.

So, here goes:

  1. I fully intend on cultivating more patience and kindness with my husband and children. Lately, I have let my irritability and impatience color my dealings with them, and my tongue has become quite sharp. I really want to try to be more present in mind when they need something from me or want to ask/tell me something.
  2. I fully intend on cultivating more patience and kindness with MYSELF.  I have become such a cruel critic of myself that I often find myself in the throes of terrible anxiety/panic attacks when I am indulging in leisure activities, or trying to take much-needed naps. There is nothing like having a guilt-induced panic attack just because you’re trying to catch an afternoon nap when your kids are not at home.
  3. I fully intend to allow myself downtime every day without guilt or “woulda”, “shoulda” or “coulda” statements. If my fibromyalgia, SAD, or anxiety is causing me to need to take it easy for the entire day, I need to allow myself to do this without recrimination.
  4. I fully intend to continue to work on cultivating multiple streams of income. I have two very good part-time work-from-home gigs going on, and I’m going to encourage those employers to send more work my way, and increase my monetary contribution to the household. I will try to be open to new avenues of income as well.
  5. I fully intend on continuing to work from home, but not more than 35-40 hours a week.  For once in my life, I’m going to do my best to avoid getting burned out, as I have so often done with employment in the past.
  6. I fully intend to continue the progress I’ve made with my dietary choices. I all but eliminated caffeine from my diet this fall. My hope for this year is to seriously cut down on soda drinks, and to drink more water. I also would like to approach eating healthier by picking one unhealthy food choice at a time and replace it with something healthier. When I feel I have overcome that unhealthy food habit, I will tackle another one. Again, trying hard not to get burned out.
  7. Become more disciplined and organized with regard to time management.  I have always tried to come up with these all-encompassing schedules, to-do lists, calendars, systems, etc., and they never seem to last very long. My goal is to really cut out all the things I have always told myself I HAD to include in a schedule/system, and simplify my schedule, so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed with housework, paying bills, etc.  I am going to have a far less stringent approach to expectations with regard to keeping house, and decide what the truly important tasks are each week and do my best to get those few things done. I don’t need to worry about dusting every week, or mopping every other day, etc. It’s just silly. I can go a couple of weeks without doing those things and you can’t even tell, so obviously these are just expectations put in my head by my OCD mother’s upbringing! I hate to have chaos in my home, but picking up clutter is one thing – getting down and hand washing the floors is excessive and I need to stop putting that on myself.
  8. I fully intend on making more time to spend with my husband. We’ve never had the chance to be “just us two”, as he already had a daughter when we got together. We have never had a good support system of people to watch our kids for us so we can go out and be together. That hasn’t changed really, but I am willing to hire some of the college kids that I know well to babysit now that they are grown. I don’t have to just depend on my oldest daughter’s availability to make this happen. My relationship with my husband needs nurturing, and not just once every couple of months. I want to put this to the forefront of my efforts this year.
  9. I fully intend on taking care of ME: taking more of an interest and pride in my appearance, investing in myself with exercise, spiritual/mental care, and fun and hobbies. I really want to be happy where I am at now, instead of focusing on some far-off time when all will be aligned. I find the most happiness from the simplest pleasures, ones that I have always enjoyed – reading, music, movies, games, etc., and I need to allow myself those things without guilt. Life’s too short not to be happy. And red lipstick and garish eye makeup make me happy too, so I’m going to take more time for myself to vamp it up, even if I’m just gonna be home that day.
  10. Work on the worrying – I really need to get a handle on my self-talk. My inner dialogue is my own worst enemy. If nothing else happens this year, I have to beat this inner demon that judges me more harshly than all the bully cheerleaders at my high school ever did.

Well, that’s all I’ve got right now. Basically it boils down to: BE NICER TO MYSELF. BE NICER TO MY FAMILY. KEEP IT SIMPLE, SILLY. IF IT FEELS GOOD, LET YOURSELF DO IT.  STOP TREATING MY BODY LIKE A TRASH COMPACTOR AND MORE LIKE A TEMPLE.

Have a great week!!

If Misery Loves Company…Then Why Am I So Lonely?

Ugh.  Wednesday. 

Well, I guess it’s “ugh” NOT because it’s Wednesday but just because it’s just an “ugh” day.

I shouldn’t vilify Wednesday as if it is the culprit.

Let’s see…so far today, I have had a traumatic dentist appointment where I was asked to pay about $100.00 more than I had been told I would owe, and which $100.00 I did not have in cash, check or charge form.  Then, the dental appointment itself…I had my permanent bridge placed in the back over the molar.  When they removed the temporary bridge and started poking around on the live nerve I thought I was going to have to smack a bitch.  Plus, HE told me not to floss around the temporary bridge, and then he is giving me a hard time for not flossing good enough and the gums around that area are very irritated.  OK…THEN he starts putting the sharp metal hooks all down in the gums all around.  How is that going to make them LESS irritated?  He kept saying when the new bridge is in, the porcelain will be down on the gum and will help the area to heal.  Well…they will need longer now because YOU were turning the gums into hamburger for me.  LOL  Plus he was careless and managed to cut my lip in two places.

I am going to get my teeth whitened on February 2.  I hope it isn’t lame and actually shows improvement.  I had a whitening session done at a spa, and it didn’t seem to change anything.  I want beautiful white teeth and if I have to get veneers to have that, I will end up doing that.  I always loved my teeth, they are very nice and straight, even if there is the gap between the front teeth.  Now, I am noticing the discoloration of age, and my teeth are aging as well, you know how that is.  It’s just one more thing that is aging me. UGH.

Onto other subjects…Well, yesterday I managed to make a decent amount of money.  If I can make at least the same amount today and tomorrow, the paycheck may actually be helpful instead of a joke.  I hardly have any hours next week and they are all at 3 to 5 a.m. for the most part so maybe I will be able to work on house projects next week.  If only I had the cash to buy the paint and supplies I need…come on, Jack Frost, bring two or three modest snow storms our way the next couple of days!!!

I am having my “monthly visitor” right now so I guess that may be a part of why I feel like complete and total shit.  Then add in the head cold, fever, and my ears giving me trouble and you have a pleasant person to be around! LOL

The only things making me smile today are thinking of vacations, and seeing my kids smile while we are at Disney World later this year.  I am also contemplating going to the tanning bed a few times because maybe it will make me feel a little less frozen.  I need sunlight in any way I can get it.  I’m not a big tanning bed person and I wouldn’t do it so often that I got to be a raisin.  However, a little color won’t hurt and it sometimes helps my acne to get a little sun. 

If I could have anything right now, at least a modest wish, not the big “win the lottery” type wishes, I would wish for a full spa day including facial, mani and pedi, full hair color and style, 1 hour or more massage, waxing, makeup, etc.  Ah…doesn’t that sound great?  Another modest wish would be to have a bigger bathtub that I could relax in.  My wish for my loved ones would be  to feel more calm and relaxed so I could give them more love, and also some special time with the loved ones of their choice.  It’s lonely for my girls without extended family to spend time with them.  I wish I had decided to have a baby a year or so after Lola, then she would have someone.  I would be crazy, but she would have someone. 

I guess I will get off here and spend some time crocheting.  I’m on a crocheting binge and am planning several more afghans that I will probably not get to before I get burned out again.  I hope I can hang on though, and get at least 2 or 3 done.

Off I go.

Snooping in my daughter’s room

Because that’s what I do.  I snoop in her room sometimes just to make sure there’s nothing blatantly going on that needs to be addressed.  Her room is messy, as usual.  However, on the floor by her chair, I see a folder entitled “[Princess]’s Poetry Folder – English”.  Apparently it was a section they were working on in English.  I open it to look at the poems inside and I find this:

“Sally [that’s me], sometimes your temper is buzzing.
But you can be really sweet to.
You are sweet and funny and you have small feet.
I love it when you laugh.
You love to be on the computer and I ask if I can
play on the internet.
You are so funny and cute as a bunny.
I am glad you don’t hiss and only kiss.
I love when you are happy and I love your pappy.
The size of your feet doesn’t matter though.
‘It doesn’t matter when you get batter
on the floor, but please wipe it up.’
You take me to King’s Island
and other fun places, you have a fast pace
it is hard to keep up.
I love to be around you.
You are fun to jetski with just like daddy.
You sometimes hop just for fun,
so do I.
I hope you have a happy time.”

I am in tears.  I have never known her to actually use me as a subject for any kind of writing in class and I think it is sweet that she wrote this about me.  I can’t stop crying and I can’t wait for her to get home.  I just want to love that kid up.