Friday, October 3, 2014

31 Day Writing Challenge


It is difficult to go anywhere in our town without seeing little green stickers with the words "Be Kind". This is the result of a local charity, Ben's Bells. Of course, the point is for people to be kind to each other--an endeavor that I support. However, I would like to submit that if we are not first kind to ourselves, we will not have much kindness to give to others.

A search at BlueLetterBible.com revealed that the phrase "Love thy neighbour as thyself," (KJV) or "Love your neighbor as yourself," (NIV & ESV) occurs nine times. To me that says that we have to care about ourselves, show love to ourselves, in order to be able to love others--our neighbors and friends.

I am learning how to do this. For most of my life, I have not given myself permission to be kind to myself. I felt it was wrong--in the vein of being selfish and therefore sinning.

Please do not hear me wrong, I am not saying we should go crazy here, but we need to give ourselves permission to accept from ourselves kindness. Yes, we take care of ourselves; we buy stuff for ourselves, but most of the time, I do that with a measure of guilt. I might give myself permission to do something just because I want to do it, but there is always that nagging guilt voice in my head telling myself I have no business spending this time on myself. Buyer's remorse is my constant companion if I should decide to make a purchase for the simple reason that I want the item.

I am working on correcting this behavior. I am working on giving myself permission to accept my own kindnesses to myself. What have I gained? I am happier. I am nicer to others. I am more accepting of others and their weaknesses. I am able to accept kindness given to me from other people.

So, for the next 31 days, I am going to try to do something for myself each day. Maybe it will be working on a crafty project. Maybe it will be doing something with purpose for my health. I do not know exactly what will come up. I have a list to work on, but I am going to be kind enough to myself to allow myself to stray from the list without admonition.

This post is my official Day 1 as I am starting three days behind the average bear 31 Day Writer participant.

1) Make a blog button and write a post introducing my 31 day writing topic. (You're here!)

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There are a bunch of other people on 31 day journeys of their own. You can find them at Write31Days.com. Just a bunch of bloggers happy to have our own personal cause to write and share about.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Change

I have been waiting in anticipation all week to find out what the word prompt would be this week.  Then when it was announced I came up blank. But this morning, during my ten-minute vacation (aka my morning shower), an epiphany hit. So without further ado, I give you my five minutes on . . .

CHANGE

Can you think back to a moment in your life that was the epicenter for huge change? At the moment, you have no realization of what is happening. I am not talking about something big like a marriage, birth of a baby or the death of a loved one. I am talking about something simple that you just didn't give a huge amount of thought to at the time, but later on, down the road, you can see that it was the beginning of something big.

This brings to mind a tsunami. Plates move under the earth all the time.  They move under the ocean all the time. They do not always cause a catastrophic change. But once every while (too often, I am sure, for those who live through the horror), the movement of those plates cause something huge to happen.



A little over two years ago there was a series of "plate movements" in my life. At the time, they just gave me pause and caused me to scratch my head. But in retrospect, I can see that they were the beginning of something huge; something that has been tremendously life changing for me. I am on a new journey. It is scary. It is exhilarating.

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Do you want to join in the fun of waiting each week for a writing prompt, then spending five minutes putting your spin on it?


http://katemotaung.com/2014/08/21/five-minute-friday-change/

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday at Ten {Gather}

I am so thankful that there are writers who want to share their joy of writing by inviting others to join in and write on a given topic. These wonderful people are so open and accepting of other writers no matter their current ability and flub-ups are always welcome because they have been there and understand.

Today I am writing because of Karen at Finding the Grace Within. Thank you, Karen, for inviting me on this journey.


Gather




At first glance, I think of gathering my thoughts. I am in the process of learning to be kinder to myself-to take the time to care for myself. Today, as I was looking up an exercise video on Pinterest, I clicked onto a link that talked about how meditation is a key element in building a healthy immune system. When I think of meditating, I think of centering my thoughts-gathering my thoughts, if you will.

My brain usually is jumping all over the place, a virtual haven of Mexican jumping beans. Do you remember those? They came in a little plastic case. The beans would jump and dance to a gentle clicking sound. But there was no noticeable pattern. You didn't know which bean would jump next or when it would jump. That's my brain and thought process. So gathering my thoughts would be a relief.

Centering myself and focusing on just one thought at a time is virtually impossible. I do not enjoy sitting in church and listening to the sermon. Not because I do not care for the things of God, but because I cannot make myself focus on the sermon. I tune in for about half a minute, then my mind is off on another path. About five minutes later I will make a conscious effort to focus once again on the topic at hand, only to realize ten minutes later that I have no idea what the preacher said.

What is the problem? Do I lack self discipline? Am I back-slidden? My usual explanation is that I am ADHD. No official diagnosis, but I have serious suspicions. Let's be honest. The answer is that I am just like most other moms. I have about fifty billion pots simmering at any given time. I barely move the pot on the front burner off the stove, before another has to be whisked right into its place. And the truth of the matter is that my stove has about twelve front burners.

What was the topic? Ah, right...gathering. I am discussing gathering my thoughts. I can picture myself in my mind's eye. I am sitting cross-legged on the brown carpet of my living room floor. I have gentle, soothing, uplifiting music quietly playing. My diffuser is releasing a pleasant, refreshing scent into the air. My eyes are closed, palms are laying face up on my bent legs. All tension and stressed is released from my face, my shoulders. I grab onto one thought. I stay focused and centered on that thought. No others penetrate my thought process. I am able to give my complete attention to this one issue. Thoroughly dissect it and solve its nuances. All my energy, breath and focus are gathered into one place.

What a beautiful dream, a worthy aspiration. Out of my reach? Beyond the realm of possibility? No. It is there, ready, waiting to be gathered.

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Want to join in the fun?

Tuesdays at Ten

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Fill

Writing is healing. It's a way to be heard. Maybe not actually heard by anyone, but by the page. Cathartic-that is what writing is. Five Minute Friday provides for a directed form of therapy by giving us one thought to focus on for five soul-cleansing minutes. So without further ado...



Go.

Fill. I try to fill my days, my thoughts,my musings so as to focus on what is no longer mine. My mind keeps going back to those thoughts that just keep circling, circling, circling in my head. Bit I can no longer stand hose thoughts. I am getting nowhere focusing on those thoughts. I must fill my mind with other things. I must keep busy enough to keep from obsessing on what I have no control over. So I attempt to fill my days with plans. My actions with projects. I must move on from this rut that gets me nowhere.

And I succeed. I manage to keep myself busy enough, focused enough that I no longer dwell on those thoughts. But they are like a bad penny. One action. One thought. And they are triggered once more. Round and round they go in my head again. I drive myself crazy with it all.

Fill. Fill. Fill my mind with a different refrain. I must escape these thoughts that drive me mad.

Stop.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Finish

Finish. You can't actually finish unless you start. What have I started? Plenty of projects. Plenty of ongoing projects at this very moment. I have swatches of a new paint color on two of my bedroom walls. I have a bare concrete floor with patches of glue still staring at me. Unnumbered sewing projects-pot holders, pillows, a quilt...

So what is the problem here? I am starting things in order to fill a void. I do not yet know what that void is, I am working on that. I have my suspicions.

So maybe THAT is what I have started-the journey to figure out what that void is. The finish line is way in the distance I am afraid.

For now, I should focus on finishing some of these projects. Maybe the time it takes to do that will give me the much needed time I need to sort out that void.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fell Behind Friday: Reflect

From Merriam-Webster.com:

to move in one direction, hit a surface, and then quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction

I find this definition to be profound.  I am always moving in one direction--the direction of time.  I usually live in a state of feeling swept along with no way to gain foothold.  The days just keep moving, minute by minute, hour by hour; then the days move in to weeks--Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so forth and so on; the weeks become months--jog through January, fly through February, march through, well, um, March (I was going to stop there, but let's see if I can keep the alliteration going, shall we?), accelerate through April, muddle through May, jump into June, juggle July, adapt to August, swim through September, obliterate October, nod through November, and dream through December. (Huge breath in. That was actually a little painful.)  Then, as we all too recently discovered it is a new year, and where did the rest go? Honestly.  My daughter just asked me tonight how long ago I graduated from high school (according to teenagers, in the dark ages, apparently).  I do not feel like it has been twenty-five years--but what do I know?  What does twenty-five years feel like anyway.

Truth be told, I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately, and I have to say, it actually does feel a lot like hitting a surface then quickly moving in another direction.  You see, I am trying to figure out what exactly I want to be when I grow up.  As it turns out, age is definitely a state of mind.  Most of the time I still feel like I am a teenager--mentally that it--I never have actually gotten the feel for being an adult.  Yes, I have taken on and handle adult responsibilities very well, but I haven't quite mastered the rights of adulthood.  Most of the time I feel inferior to other adults, but that is a topic for another blog post.

Of course there are those times when I feel my age.  I struggle with thinking that I can re-enter the workforce at this point in time, or the point in time just a few short years from now when my kids are no longer under my control. Who would want someone my age to work for them when they can get someone years younger?  I feel I am past my usefulness.  Then, of course, there are those issues with my knees--they are happy to remind me that I am no spring chicken.

But I have to decide what I am going to do, what I am going to be.  The husband and I want a totally different life for ourselves once the kids are out of the house; a life that is simply not going to permit me to be a stay-at-home-wife.  I am going to have to gainfully contribute; the problem with that is that I will have to be gainfully employed.

So I am trying to sort out what it is that I want to do.  Truth be told, I have already accomplished my childhood dream.  You know, the one where you say, "When I grow up I want to be a . . ."  I always finished that sentence with "wife and mother."  Check and check.  In that sense, I am extremely successful.  But my life doesn't end at wife and mother.  My youngest will be a legal adult in a short six and one-half years.  And, yes, it is absolutely short.  The days are long, but the years are short, short, short (see above).

There was only one other time in my life when I knew with absolute certainty what I wanted to be.  I was determined to be the CEO of Disney, and I believed I could, too.  But I lost sight of that dream, somewhere around the time I became disillusioned with Disney, you know, when I actually looked at it through adult eyes. (Huh, maybe there were a few times I felt like a grown-up.) 

When I was living those CEO pipe dreams, I was enrolled in a business management/administration program at an university.  But just ten short classes short of graduating, I decided to earn my M.O.M. degree.  I don't regret that one bit.  What I do regret is not slowly working to finish up that degree.  I do not think that I am just ten short classes shy of that B.S.B.A. degree now.  Truth is, I no longer have an interest of being a business administrator, but I would like to say that I completed my degree.  I am just too practical, though.  I have no intention of working in a job that would utilize such a degree, so I cannot justify spending the time and money to complete it.

I know, it seems like to have drifted way off topic, but in truth I haven't.  I have been reflecting.  Reflecting so much that I am bouncing in a ton of different directions.  What is the opposite of reflecting?  Absorb.  Absorb is the opposite of reflect.

Honestly I have this mental picture of standing in the middle of a circle of mirrors and balls are pinging off the mirror, going in the opposite direction then bouncing off and going in another direction.  And there are lots of balls.  That is how I have been feeling with trying to sort through all my thoughts and emotions.  That is reflection.  Absorption. . .that gives me a mental picture of sitting down in the middle of the mirrors, closing my eyes and internalizing all my thoughts and emotions.  I haven't done that, but I might well consider it.  It would require allowing the past to just be.  Not something that comes easy to me.  I have always lived the motto, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  A good motto, but prevention and beating oneself up for past decisions are two totally different things.  I think I may be operating as though they are a single entity.

Think I will call myself Lucy and hang out my shingle.  The mirrors will come in handy when I am acting in two different roles.  O.K., I think I am officially punch drunk.  Time to call it a night.

Five Minute Friday: Fight

http://lisajobaker.com/2014/01/five-minute-friday-fight/


"Fight the good fight."  Those were the first words that came to my mind when I saw the topic for this Five Minute Friday.  What is the good fight?  Of course in scripture it refers to fighting for what we believe; and believe me, that can be a fight. Going against the mainstream--you had better believe it.  And it just gets harder every year.  Just try to raise kids who have a good faith and morals--even if you have them in church they are constantly surrounded by worldly music, girls who do weird "dance" moves on award shows and are talked about everywhere you turn, and my absolute favorite--bumper stickers with very choice words.  Yeah, I want to fight--fight all of it.

But the truth is, I get so tired.  Just bone weary of constantly swimming upstream.  I still swim (cue Dory, "Keep on swimming, keep on swimming. . ." ahem).  But many, oh so many times I just want to quit.  Thank God He didn't quit on us.  Thank God that He fights for us.  The God of angel armies is ALWAYS on our side.