I have been wanting to post an update, but either I’ve been crazy busy while preparing for my move, or I’ve simply been uninspired or otherwise unable to write. I come to the computer expecting to speak to you, and then, the longer I try to put words on paper, the farther away I get from being able to say anything at all. Brick Wall. It’s like I have entirely too much to talk about, and there’s no point in even getting started, because no conversation would ever be enough.
Which means I’m going to have to settle for the Cliff Notes version:
I’ve been busy packing and preparing for my upcoming move
unfortunately, I’ve had some health set-backs that have slowed me down
- scary stuff, and exciting stuff, and worrisome stuff has been happening
- I’ve had to become comfortable with accepting help (again) … it should feel good, but it doesn’t
- as I’ve prepared for the move, I’ve reawakened the “organize with precision” monster
- seriously, my organizational skills are awesome … way beyond awesome, actually
- lists? I have so many lists that I can’t possibly keep track of them all, but they sure do help
- I’m so HAPPY that I will be moving within two weeks … I love looking at the calendar every day
- for some reason, my faith has been very shaky lately … and alternately, very strong
- I almost forgot to celebrate when I paid off my car note … first time in about 20 years with no car payment
- making plans for the future is causing my brain cells to collide against one another in a good way
We all have busy lives. We all have times in our lives when there is just too much happening at one time. As the moving day approaches, I am handling the process the same as I would handle any deadline … prepare in advance, organize your thoughts, leave room for unexpected delays, and never, ever, NEVER miss a deadline. It reminds me that way-back-when in the corporate world, I was known as a person who could be counted on to meet or exceed any deadline. Even the impossible ones. It sure does help to know that that person is still alive and kicking, even if she happens to be compromised by health issues, and a bit worse for wear. She gets the job done. Every time.
Which asks an interesting question:
What can you count on about yourself, that sees you through difficult periods in your life?
Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Always appreciated. The next time I see you folks, I’ll be under a new roof.
(that thought makes me smile … really smile). See you soon!
I’ve recently gone through months of what could more-or-less be called writer’s block, although technically, my physical body was also struggling with the ability to be at the keyboard. But the truth is, even if I had been physically ABLE to be at the keyboard, I would have had a hard time putting any words to paper. There was something that I desperately needed to talk about, and yet, despite the need, I simply couldn’t say a word. I didn’t dare. Nope. Not yet, anyway.
I knew it was important that before I committed those words to paper, that I needed to be clear about my intention, and that I fully understood that by giving them voice, I was allowing those words to live and breathe on the page, and to live within the world at large. I still haven’t written about this particular thing (and may, or may not, ever do so in the future), but thankfully, I was able to move past the desperation attached to it, and come back to writing.
It seems rather silly and mundane to say out loud, but one of the ways I was able to jostle my words back to life was by entering contests online. Yes, really. As I came back to being physically able to sit at the keyboard, I adopted a new routine every morning. As I was sipping my hot tea, or giving myself time to wake up to a new day, I would do an online search for any new contests that had popped up in which there was a cash prize of at least five thousand dollars. (Why five thousand? Well, I suppose it was because it was enough money to have a direct impact on my life, and because it would weed out all those numerous contests that are simply trolling for your identifying information so that they can flood your email with “special offers”. Of course, EVERY contest does this, but somehow or another the number five thousand seemed to present an acceptable risk-to-reward ratio, at least for me.) Anyway, I would find a new contest, enter the contest, and continue on my merry way, either answering emails, or surfing blogs, or finding other ways to distract myself.
For instance, one such contest was this one, in which an advertiser says “we are running a contest to give away $25,000 in cash and prizes, and in order to enter the contest, you will need to do three things: (1) register with our website, (2) provide your email address, and (3) answer one short question every day”. Quick, simple, and takes only moments to complete the task before moving on to another contest, or moving on to blog reading, or even moving on to walking away from the computer and getting back to packing more boxes for my move, etc.
Something unexpected happened, which was that in order to enter this particular contest, you had to answer that one question, which turned out to be a sort of writing prompt for me every morning. For instance, today’s question was, “Knowing that you’re fueling your body with nutritious foods like salad is gratifying. What other small-but-significant choices in your life do you find rewarding?” and my response was this, “When I allow myself the privilege of interacting with others in a way that is respectful and kind, it elevates my day, and just like eating a healthy salad, or choosing nutritious food to fuel our bodies, sharing kindess with others keeps us healthy.” Not exactly rocket science. Cheesy, even. But still.
Here’s where it really got interesting for me. The answer to the question can only contain 250 characters, so it became my personal challenge to respond to every advertising-prompt-related question with a response that used EXACTLY 250 characters. Thus began my daily foray into the “pretend you are writing copy for this advertiser, and make your response include a form of their question, as well as a nod to their product, but still manage to squeeze some truth into the response.” And there, in the world of make-believe and online contests, my writing muse woke up just enough to let the question that I couldn’t answer get out of the way, and made room for blogging and commenting again.
The world as we know it is strange and wonderful, and if it takes an online contest that will flood my email with unwanted advertising, but it allows me to begin the conversation again, then I suppose there really is No Contest. After all, my goal is healthy living, and in order to meet that goal, I have to remain engaged with others, and continue the conversation.
Thanks for visiting my space, and sharing a word. Always appreciated.
royalty free stock photography available for purchase
I should start off by saying that I appreciate the emails and comments from folks, asking how I’m doing these days. It’s kind of hard to answer that question, without spinning in many directions at once. So, feeling a bit cowardly for doing so, I figured I’d take the easy way out, and put up a new blog post. It may not exactly answer the question, but at least you’ll see that I’m still here. Alive and kicking. And thanks for asking.
My body is mostly healed, and I’m able to physically do most of what I could do before the abdominal surgeries in September and October. The abdominal cancer is presently under control. I’m still in the process of trying to find a new place to live, and will be moving SOMEWHERE within the next 60-90 days. I’ve been incredibly stressed out by the uncertainty of the WHERE part of that equation. It doesn’t help that my finances are stretched beyond all comfortable limits, or that I’m wrestling with some internal issues that are overwhelming and decidely uncomfortable. Despite the ongoing turmoil, I’m doing what I can to remain positive and productive (most days, at least).
I’ve been lurking about quite a bit … reading blogs, sometimes leaving comments, but mostly just doing whatever I can do to try to distract myself from what is going on in my life, and in my head. I keep landing on a very slippery slope, so it takes some maneuvering to get myself back to solid ground. Thank you to all of you that keep putting content out there for me to get lost within. It helps, truly it does. More than you know.
I’ve also managed to find a few new discoveries along the way. In fact, not too long ago, I accidentally found myself here, where I eventually became entranced by the simple concept of gravity as an art form, and also as a form of meditation, or even as worship. I suppose that depending on your own circumstance, you can make of it whatever suits your own sine qua non for survival. Whether as an observer, or as a participant, you have the potential to gain something from the experience.
In any case, as someone sorely in need of patience and a calmness of spirit, I decided to give the art of gravity a try. It’s early in the process for me, but I can say that something about touching the rough (or smooth) surface, and asking it to balance precariously in a way that seems to defy gravity … well, it’s helping me to allow my focus to shift to something other than what is troubling my spirit these days. I’ll take that as a gift, and keep exploring this unexpected journey into patience and appreciation. Here’s hoping you find balance in your own life. As always, thanks for visiting.
“To appreciate the balance in life, you have to lose it every now and then.” Rod Williams, musician
“…simple curiousity has developed into therapeutic ritual…” Michael Grab, artist
“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet and author
As is usually the case these days, I’ve been mostly absent from blogging. Every now and again I jump on and float around a bit, sometimes even managing to leave a comment or click a “Like” button, but mostly I stay huddled in the quiet, trying as hard as I know how, not to speak up or say anything much at all. I’m afraid I won’t like what comes tumbling out, so I figure it best to just let things simmer until I can find a better perspective. Hope I’m still alive when that happens.
Anyway, wanted to take a moment to share something I found via a Freshly Pressed link. This isn’t the blog entry that was Freshly Pressed (check out the January 10th post for that one), but as is sometimes the case, after landing in her blog space, I sifted and sorted my way through some of the archives, and ended up here, and was surprised at my reaction to this piece. I’ll leave it at this — sometimes, rarely, when we least expect it, we bump across something that sounds true. Even when we aren’t ready to hear it.
At another time, or a later date, I’ll be back with news on where I’m at these days. For now, just wanted to say that I appreciate each of you that have taken the time to share a kind word, or have sent some encouragement my way. I’m reflecting back to you my own wishes that your life is somehow bearable, and even, dare-I-say-it-out-loud, enjoyable.
Today’s Sundae Sessions will be brief. I’d like to share a secret. I have lots of things going on at home that are keeping me occupied, so even though I don’t really have time for visiting, I did want to at least mention something quickly about a thought that has been simmering in my head this week.
It began when someone in my family recently shared an extremely personal secret with me. This was information that they clearly wouldn’t want anyone to know, and yet they felt confident in sharing this information with me. Obviously they trusted that I would not betray their confidence. This had me thinking about secrets all week long.
What caused me to keep the idea of secrets simmering in my brain all week was that many, many years ago, this very same person had once shared a different secret with me, and unfortunately, all those years ago, I did, in fact, betray their confidence. I ended up telling their secret to the very person they most feared would learn this information. You would think that would have ruined my chances of ever gaining their trust again, but instead, here’s a snapshot of what has happened in the ensuing thirty years, and how eventually things turned around. It’s a testament to the idea of time healing all wounds:
- first, I took responsibility (years ago) for betraying their trust
- then I sincerely apologized for having hurt them by telling their secret
- I tried to explain the motivation behind my betrayal (no excuses)
- this opened up a discussion about destructive misconceptions
- then I promised them I would never betray their trust again
- I asked for their forgiveness (when, and if, they were ever ready to forgive)
- in the ensuing years, I made sure they knew I hadn’t forgotten the incident
- a few years went by, and we both matured (in general, and in life, and in years)
- as we continued to rebuild our relationship, I shared some of my secrets with them.
- one day they finally shared one of their secrets with me. I kept my mouth shut.
- after that secret, they told me another. and then another. and so on.
- one day, they told me a HUGE secret. five years later, it’s still a secret.
- now we both know that the other will keep our secrets. for sure. always.
- it’s nice to have at least one person in life that you can share secrets with.
- sometimes I’m still surprised they ever found a way to trust me again.
- this says a lot about how forgiving they are, and how they have matured.
- to this day, sometimes I still apologize for the first time I broke their trust.
- it took me 30 years to learn that holding a secret is much better than telling one
Holding someone’s secret is a big responsibility. There have been a few times I’ve had to catch myself, just before something spills out of my mouth, because I realize it is somehow related to the secret. It requires that you be careful and conscientious with your words. It requires that you be diligent in your efforts. When you hold someone’s secret, you hold their trust.
I’m honored that I’ve been given this responsibility. It tells me that I’ve gotten closer to becoming the kind of adult that I hoped I might be one day, (at least, when it comes to keeping secrets).
That’s at least one step in the right direction.
My secret is that it feels much better to be on this side of the equation. Really. I’m so glad that I’ve given the gift of trust, not only to this person, but also, to myself. Now I finally understand what it really feels like to trust someone. Sharing secrets helped me learn how to trust myself.
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today’s Sundae Sessions will be a little bit different, due to the fact that I’ve been offline for nearly two weeks, (because of a painful and inconvenient computer death). I’m writing to you today on a brand new machine. It is my sincere hope that this new machine and I will become close friends over the next several years. I’m from the “don’t count all those un-hatched chickens” school of thought, but I’m cautiously optimistic that my new PC will be my buddy, and won’t cause me to tear out what little bit of hair I have left. I’d like to still have something to twist around my finger when I’m contemplating deep thoughts.
Speaking of deep thoughts, imagine how surprised I was to find myself thinking some rather deep thoughts these past few weeks. Nothing causes the writing muse to crackle to life with more veracity than having no access to a keyboard for a couple of weeks. Ideas were flowing in every direction. The one that kept returning to me, over and over again, is that I think I’m a bit stunned to realize that I might finally be able to write a book. Like, for real this time. I’ve always tossed around the “wish” or the “dream” or even the “what if” possibility, but it seems that in these past several months, and especially in these past couple of weeks, an idea for a book has been digging little grooves into my brain. It has seized my imagination with a tenacity that rivals the jaws of a Pit Bull. It’s not about to let go.
(No complaints about giving Pit Bulls a bad name, please. It was just an easy example to make the point. Maybe I should have chosen “vice grip pliers” instead, but really, I was going for more punch. Insert mandatory disclaimer here: No dog breed is a bad dog breed. Bad owners are what are responsible for bad dogs. No exceptions.)
Anyway, back to what I was saying. Believe you me when I say I’m as shocked as you are that I’m actually considering this adventure as even remotely achievable. I’ve always known that I lack the necessary discipline to write a book, but what fermented in my brain these past few weeks (and really, these past several months) is a way that I can make it doable by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces. I’m looking at it as every chapter being a mini-book. I’m not tackling a huge writing project at all; instead, I’m simply writing a series of small stories that will be stitched together to make a book. Obviously I know I’m not the first person to think of using this strategy to tackle a big project, and I’m certainly not the first person to employ this tactic when writing a book. The one thing that has fallen into place within my brain musings is that I’m skilled enough to write short, interesting stories. And really, that’s all it takes. I don’t have to worry about anything more than writing some short, interesting stories, over and over again, until I have enough of them to make a book.
Yes, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m knee-deep in a manic phase, and sometimes the ideas that come to me when I’m zipping along at warp speed don’t seem to carry much weight when my gears grind to a deathly halt again. But even while buried in manic energy, this idea has merit. My idea is simply to cram all the writing I can into the manic days. When those other days show up, (and they always will), then I’ll simply use that time to recharge my batteries so that when the next manic phase begins, I’ll be ready to write again. I don’t know why this time around this idea seems plausible, but I think it has a lot to do with some of the books I’ve seen published by other bloggers, so I have to thank all of you other bloggers out there for allowing me the audacity to even consider I might have the ability to write.
And now, because it is, after all, Sunday, I’ll close with a few words on which I’ve been contemplating their authenticity:
“He who limps is still walking.” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
“Every word written is a victory against death.” Michel Butor
“Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace, and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 (NIV)
I don’t know what’s going on with WordPress lately, but I’ve been getting some weird results. First, for no particularly good reason that I can readily decipher, I quit receiving email notifications from some of the people that I regularly follow. Even though I haven’t made any (known) changes to my account in weeks, suddenly odd things have started happening. Duplicate post notifications on some, and none on others. Today’s bizarre anomaly takes the cake. When I sat down at the computer today and opened my email, I found I have been inundated with repetitive email notifications for comment replies.
I follow over sixty blogs, and it appears that now I am getting an email notification every time anyone comments on any one of these blogs. I knew something was up when I had over four hundred emails when I checked my email this morning. I promise you I’m not that popular.
So, is anyone else experiencing this craziness? I feel like I’m trapped in some kind of WordPress vacuum, where the hallucinogenics are plentiful, and my In Box is stuck in some kind of weirdo time warp. The good news is lots of you are writing interesting and thought-provoking and giggle-inducing posts, and even better, that you are receiving plenty of comments. The bad news is that my eyes are spinning in dizzy circles from weeding through legitimate new post notifications versus all the unexpected and unsolicited comment notifications. The only saving grace that is keeping me from pulling my hair out in fluffy chunks of consternation is that, thankfully, not every blog I follow is a WordPress blog. For which I am very grateful.
If anyone has any magical cures or worthwhile chants or special potions, or can share the secret handshake that will bring my email back to reality, the blog fairies will bless you abundantly. For now, I’ll just pretend I’ve been Freshly Pressed, instead of Freshly Stressed.
somebody please help me pick up all these spilled marbles
just kidding … I kind of like spilled marbles
they keep us hopping from one place to another
Even though I’ve only recently started blogging again, I’ve already received several curious email inquiries about why my “Leave A Comment” function is currently disabled on this blog. In an effort to clear up the mystery, I’m going to spend a little bit of time trying to explain exactly why, and I really hope you’ll have patience with me and try to understand.
The feedback that I’m getting in these email messages is that people feel somehow rejected when they want to leave a comment. They click on the ”Leave A Comment” button, only to find a message saying that comments are currently disabled on this blog, and they stare at the screen with a mixture of confusion and aggravation. They took the time to come here and read what I’ve written, and they have something they would like to share about what they’ve just read, (whether it is something that pertains to their own experience, or that they simply wanted to share a word of encouragement). Sometimes they reluctantly decide to send an email instead and go in search of an email address, but more often than not they will simply just click away to another blog, perhaps still feeling a sting of annoyance of perceived rejection. Please accept my most sincere apology if this has happened to you.
First, let me be crystal clear about this one – I absolutely LOVE your comments, and truly crave the interpersonal interaction and connection that a blog conversation can provide from both sides of the equation. Please believe that the fact that comments are currently closed has nothing at all to do with YOU, and as of today, the decision to leave comments closed is still an experiment that I’m currently exploring. To try to explain this decision, let me give you a little bit of history, in the hopes it helps to clear up the mystery.