Monthly Archives: March 2013

Chocolat Easter

“Do I want to speak of the miracle of our Lord’s divine transformation? Not really, no. I don’t want to talk about his divinity. I’d rather talk about his humanity. I mean, you know, how he lived his life, here on Earth. His *kindness*, his *tolerance*… Listen, here’s what I think. I think that we can’t go around… measuring our goodness by what we don’t do. By what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think… we’ve got to measure goodness by what we *embrace*, what we create… and who we include. ”

From the movie Chocolat

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The Hopping Frog In Your Head

I am sitting at the San Diego airport headed home this morning. I really like to travel. I am with my best friend and after 3 days of inspiring messages and some killer networking, I’m full of plans and dreams and thoughts.

My thoughts this morning are simultaneously about the things I want to accomplish, and about being fully present in THIS moment.

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We were sitting in the back of the cab on the way here and my mind was hopping onto topics like a hyperactive frog randomly jumping from lily pad to lily pad. I was in Florida (going there on Sunday to see Zoe for Spring Break) and at the beach house in Lincoln City and back to the cab and I even went to Calgary, Canada for a few moments (Hey, Andrea and Michael!).

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As my mind raced about, I purposefully came back to the present. In my years and years experience of dreaming, what I’ve come to understand is that when I finally achieve my goals and live out my dreams, I usually feel quite similarly to the way I felt BEFORE I achieved them.

So I brought the frog back to the lily pad of the cab, and I breathed the fresh air, and I held Mr Dreamboats hand and I was the happiest little frog in the pond.

We have already arrived. We ARE where we’ve planned on being. The only thing left to do is to feel the deep sense of gratitude, the burning thrill of accomplishment and then the excitement of the coming adventures.

Happy hopping!

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I Am Uncomfortable

I am uncomfortable.

First of all, I am laying face down with my chin on a pillow and my arms stretched before me while I type this post. I do not recommend this position for ease, comfort or productivity. Yet I am not going to move until my neck cramps up.

Secondly, I am at an event that makes me go out of my comfort zone. Let’s describe my comfort zone. It involves me, by myself, likely in my studio, listening to audio books while I paint. This event, with 200 people and a wide range of interesting, accomplished, thought-thinkin’, life-livin’ Doers, looks nothing like that.

And third, I have a headache. Said headache may have something to do with my physical position, might have something to do with this event and all the stretching outside my comfort zone I’m doing, but likely has much more to do with life choices and options that lie dizzyingly before me.

Last night I ran into a well known life coach who happens to be a friend of mine. As we caught up with one another I mentioned to her that I usually have pretty good radar with people, easily able to get a read on them, their intentions and whether we would work well together. I explained to Rhonda that my radar’s off and I’m feeling a little out of sorts. The nice thing about having really smart people around you is that they can see the forest for the trees.

“That means you’re growing,” she said.

I am uncomfortable. My world is altering and morphing like a sci-fi movie on steroids and it’s a little scary and it’s a lot of intimidating. I’m having to make complex choices and then take responsibility for them. That’s just straight out uncomfortable.

So I let the wheels of my mind crunch on this for a while, and this is what I come up with:

It’s good to be uncomfortable. It means we’re not dead. It’s good to stretch outside the norm. It’s so much better to have good options to choose from than to feel like there are no options at all and feel stuck. And when it comes down to it, there really aren’t any bad choices, there are just experiences. And that’s why we’re here.

For now, I have already grabbed another pillow. I’m going to take some Tylenol, go for a run out along the water here in San Diego and then I’m going to head back into the event. And I’m going to take responsibility for every one of my decisions. Because I decide.

Cuz that’s how we do.

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Depression: A Conniving Beast From Hell

Depression is a conniving beast from hell. The normal, survival, something-is-amiss-in-my-life-kind, is just a tool. But the other kind, the kind that doesn’t respond to a shift in your view, a girl’s night out and a new pair of shoes? That kind is as mean as a rattle snake and twice as lethal.

I used to believe that with enough ‘gumption’ and a sunny day, one could metaphorically pull up one’s boot straps and meet the demon head on. But life had kicked me in the teeth, stomped on my brain and had me yelling uncle. When my creative little brain visualized a suicide scene from the book The Hours, I stopped believing that I could handle the problem on my own and went to a doctor for a little pharmaceutical TLC and a healthy dose of therapy.

It was a humbling experience. I have an aversion to medications and help, both of which I needed.

What I remember most vividly from that time of depression was my wrong thinking. It seemed so real. I remember believing that the joys of my life were all behind me, that all that was left to me was to get old and die. I mean I TRULY believed this. I was 39 years old.

I realized my thinking was off when I had to convince myself that July, the month Aaron was coming home, was actually going to come again that year. I had to literally walk myself through the steps of, “It came last year, and all the years before, that means it will come this year too.” My thinking was so off that it was like needing to convince yourself that the sun will indeed rise again tomorrow.

I am grateful for that time. I think I can understand people who suffer from these brain imbalances much more fully because I’ve been through my own. I am grateful that I had people around me that I trusted and when they told me I wasn’t thinking right, I could believe them.

While depression is an evil beast from hell, it is not an invincible beast. With a little help from our friends, and sometimes from a few professionals, we can vanquish it. The sun will rise again. And every year when July rolls around again, I smile and feel a deep gratitude for it.

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Ten Things I Like

We live in the Age Of Stuff.  It’s a pithy title and you can quote me if you want. Stuff is all around us and we regularly go to the store, run to the thrift shop or surf the internet in order to get more of it. Some of us do all three. We are excellent procurers of stuff. 

Don’t stop reading! I’ll not lecture you on being a generation of materialists. No, I will throw in my two cents about the stuff that makes me smile:

  1. My George Foreman grill. It really is all that and a bag of chips. No muss, no fuss and quicklyImage and without added oil will grill my salmon, chicken breast or even a sandwich if I put it in just right. George is there for us.
  2. Apple products. I’m not talking about an organic, delicious, heirloom fruit. No, I’m talking about the brilliance of Steve Jobs who lives on when I track my runs, tap into the internet at the cafe with my iPad or listen to an audio book on my iPod. These electronics are ubiquitous. And I love them because they give me the opportunity to use the word ubiquitous.
  3. Smartwool socks. Wool socks are naturally cool, naturally warm and Smartwool are the way to go. And they have cute styles.
  4. Yummy smelling shower gel. To think that our forefathers used soap made from potash and lye, makes my sensitive, twenty first century skin redden and peal. I choose awesome, natural, great smelling shower gel. And I am glad to have a hot shower in which to use it.
  5. Sushi. Technically not a ‘thing’ but let’s be honest, this delicacy wasn’t available to the Imageaverage American 100 years ago. Somehow it is a comfort food to me. Yum.
  6. Luxury cars. Whether we drive them or simply appreciate them from afar, they are works of art and vehicles of comfort.
  7. Cell phones. Mr Dreamboat was in the industry before they were normally available, so the portable phone has been a part of our lives since they looked like large, gray bricks. Whatever did we do without them?
  8. The internet. Does it count as a thing? For me, it counts as a thing to the power of a gazillion. It gets us places, it teaches us stuff and satisfies our need for inconsequential information at any random moment (like that moment when we need to know exactly how old Valerie Bertinelli is).
  9. Scarves. I have a whole slough of them in my closet. Sometimes I wear them to keep Imagewarm, but sometimes I put on a scarf and a big, round pair of sunglasses and I could swear I am glamorous (and then I remember that I sometimes share my home with goats, and I know that it’s an illusion).
  10. Books. Audio books, digital books, paperbacks and hard bound, used, new and in the discount bins. I love books.

‘Nuff said.

Magic Monday

Having read both Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning in the last six months, when yesterday dawned with frustrations and challenges, Zoe and I decided to claim the day as “Corrie Ten Boom Day”, complete with gratitude for everything that happened and was happening. EVERYTHING.

Carrie and her fiance’ Dakota joined in the challenge and the game was on. I have to admit that it was easier for some of us than it was for others. Zoe is currently a Imagecollege intern at the world’s largest amusement park and entertainment company. I’m not naming names———->

As you might imagine, it can be an amazing, sparkly experience of love and good will to all men to work in The Kingdom, and other days, with crowds of indulging, somewhat entitled families with the expectation that they’ve arrived at the happiest place on earth, and you damn well better make sure they’re happy… it can be a challenge.

Yesterday was fraught with spring storms, flooded offices, rides breaking down and a two hour shift extension. Of the four of us acknowledging Corrie Ten Boom day, Zoe had her Imagework cut out for her. That said, when I talked with her at 3 a.m. East Coast time, she simultaneously admitted how horrible the day was, and had a laugh in her voice and a charm about it that sounded a lot like gratitude in all circumstances.

My only real challenge for the day was that Max’s flight was delayed and I had a frustrating time trying to find a bathroom at midnight in an industrial part of town. I’m not going to share the whole story, but I will admit that a have bark dust slivers in my unmentionable nether-parts. I am grateful for a dark, dark night.

As our day of gratitude was definitely a success, I asked Zoe what we should do with today. 
“Magic Monday!” She declared! At first I thought it was an extension of the Corrie Ten Boom Gratitude Day but she clarified immediately. Today we’ll spend the day trying to make magic for other people.

This is why I adore that girl. She’s action oriented.

So today is Magic Monday. Zoe has challenged me, Carrie & Dakota and I’m quite certain all of you to make magic for others today. I believe that service to others is gratitude in action. We are each so blessed. There is so much to be grateful for, and so many opportunities to bless the lives of others, even in small and simple ways.

Let the wild rumpus start! Happy Magic Monday

On Marital Bliss: Ten Things

Mr Dreamboat and I have been apart while he’s been on a business trip, and I miss him. He Imageis my best friend and confidant and support team and greatest fan. Of course I miss him. This morning as I was sitting down to write a post, I found marriage on my mind.

While it is likely exactly the value of its name, here’s my Two Cents on the subject of a good marriage:

  1. Hold hands. I know that not everyone is affectionate, but we all grew up holding hands, at least as we crossed the street. Holding hands is like having an anchor, it grounds us even while it makes us feel brave enough to fly.
  2. Express gratitude. Perhaps we don’t want to barrage our partner with “Hey, I’m really glad you didn’t pull the covers last night,” but maybe we do. When we tell our spouse what we appreciate about them we don’t have time to criticize, and they have a map of what pleases us.
  3. Be loyal. It’s just not right to tear the person you’ve chosen to be with forever down to others. There’s nothing that makes me leave a party faster than a room full of women carping about their husbands. That’s just bad juju. It’s one thing to seek advice from someone you trust about a problem, it’s another to claim to be a victim of your partner while you’re actually victimizing them with your betrayal.
  4. Revel in their successes. There’s nothing as gratifying as being able to go to that one, special person and celebrate your joys, the compliments you’ve received and the realization of your dreams. There’s no place for jealousy. It’s a pleasure to be the wind beneath another’s wings, especially when you take turns flying.
  5. Expect to give 100%. One of the best piece of relationship advice I ever got was from a college class, I give it to you for free. No relationship is 50/50. There are times when it’s 20/80 others when it’s 90/10. We go back and forth and that’s okay. That’s healthy.
  6. ImageExpress your needs. I still hear people say things like, “We’ll see if he remembers my birthday.” That’s just not fair if you know he has a hard time with it. Last year, after Mr D spent Mother’s Day and the week after in the hospital, and the following 6 weeks recovering. I was feeling a little tapped out when my birthday approached. I made a point of saying to my Dreamboat, “I know it wasn’t your fault, but Mother’s Day was sort of a bust for me, and I’m in a bit of a self-pity phase, I really need you to spoil me for my birthday. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I just really need you to be thoughtful.” That is truly what I needed, I expressed it and I got what I needed. It’s not fair to the other person if we don’t at least give them the information. And conversely, when we receive the information, we need to be listening and responding as well.
  7. Date night. However we woo, and have been wooed in our relationship, somehow it got us into this marital contract. We chose to be here because of wooing. Well, it makes sense that we’d want to stay because of wooing and that needs to be done regularly. Weekly. Weekly Wooing. Do it. This is a non-negotiable item. Woo. Weekly. With gusto.
  8. Have a sense of humor. It is imperative that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Some of my favorite marriage moments involve irrepressible fits of giggling and usually over something ridiculous that I or Mr D has done. Life is funny and it’s even funnier when we laugh together.
  9. Cultivate your friendship. I think we often treat our friends much better than we do our spouses. We show them courtesies and kindnesses that should first and foremost be a part of our home life.
  10. Pretend. My mom often told me to “Fake it ‘til you make it,” meaning sometimes we don’t feel loving and we don’t want to be nice. That’s okay, but sometimes it’s wise to pretend. We do it with children all the time, we don’t really feel loving, but it’s not okay to act the way we feel, so we pretend to be interested or happy or whatever, and usually we find that we feel exactly the way we pretended we were feeling.

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The Elegance Of Failure

I like to write. Sometimes I write words down just because they please me. Ubiquitous. There. That’s a great word, no? Sometimes I write my blog posts in the morning, sometimes I write them a few days in advance, sometimes the night before. When I do that, I usually write them in a way that sounds like I’ve written them in the morning. I don’t know why I do this, but it’s the closest I come to lying.

Yesterday’s post (and I really do mean yesterday, this is fresh off the morning press), I wrote the evening before. I actually wrote two posts that night in an effort to get ahead since the next few weeks I’ll be traveling and I want to get some written in advance. But I was pretty excited about the post I’d written for Friday morning.

You know the feeling when you’ve spent a good deal of time creating the perfect email or paper? You craft it and lovingly sculpt it until you’re entirely satisfied that it’s exactly right? And then the monster in the computer gobbles it up and carries it off into the ether-night and you’ll never see it again no matter how much you swear at your computer? Yeah, that’s what happened to me.

I was unwilling to use the second, less timely, blog post I’d written in the same sitting. There was nothing to do but to go to my bedroom, take a moment to mourn my lost labors and begin again.

I will admit that I rushed through the second writing. I took less thought to what I was doing, but in fairness, I’d already created it and edited once, so I knew at least the parts I was fond of, and made sure that they made it into the second effort.

What do you know? The second one was better than the first. My original attempt was more painstaking, but just like a rough sketch or a practice run, when we practice first, the second effort is superior, coming from seasoned work.

Failure is a funny thing. I don’t think the word inspires warm feelings and smiles from any of us, and yet none of us are strangers to it. If you haven’t failed it simply means you haven’t tried. While failure is often a bitter pill to swallow, it is also the foundation upon which we build greatness, it is a key ingredient to success, it is a generous contrast to our greatest accomplishments. If we don’t have a healthy dose of failure to accompany us along our way, we are simply not fully living.

There is no doubt in my mind that the next time my efforts are gobbled up into the netherworld, or the next time I am rejected or fail at something about which I am truly passionate, that I will be upset. I am human. Failure is painful. But on a very basic level, I know that any kind of loss and all kinds of failure, are opportunities to try again. Each failure brings with it greater possibilities.

Failure may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the understanding that it is a chance to dare even greater, is a spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down.

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Road Tripping

Because my workout room is currently a guest room for my daughter Carrie and her partner, I Imageam forced to find alternative running options to my normal Lazy Girl runs. I LOVE to run, but the fact is that I’m a fair weather runner. Cold, rain, fatigue, laziness or lack of time, you will find me hanging out with the good folks of the Today Show, catching up on current news and events, display set to about 6 miles an hour and staying warm and dry with a convenient bathroom right next door.

But not now. Not until I can move my house guests out to the pool house.

Yesterday morning I was in desperate need of a good, hard run. There was nothing to do but to hit the pavement. As luck would have it, yesterday it rained, it was unseasonably cold and I enjoyed an early Spring snow shower. Later in the day there was a tornado. Fortunately I missed that part.

ImageSo I am a fair weather runner and I’m running in the cold and the rain and the snow, and it was magnificent. It. Was. Magnificent.

The cold air filled my lungs and puffed out in visible clouds. It made me feel alive and the chill on my face and the rain on my legs was nothing short of invigorating. What a blessing it was to be forced out of my normal routine.

But for a scant handful of times I have not run outside since November. And while I like to think that I am regularly stretching and growing, I think we all have a tendency to become a bit comfortable in our routines. It is usually a function of inconvenience that pushes us out of our normal, accomodating, dare I say boring? routines, and re-infuses our lives with the stuff that makes it all worthwhile.

Here’s to Freedom Fridays. Here’s to convenient inconveniences.

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And one thing more…

With the crazy travel schedule and the delight of a new grandson, I have been remiss in thanking my generous blogging buddies for some awards they have given me. While I am Imagebreaking away from the normal rules of the awards, I didn’t want to let another day go by without recognizing them and their generous spirits. My generous buddies recognized my blog twice for the Blogger Of The Year Award 2012, once for  the Most Inspiring Blogger Award as well as most recently for the Best Moments Award, and apparently there were two best moments:) I am honored to have the opportunity to bend your ears from time to time, and the fact that other bloggers would take the time to acknowledge my funky take on life is icing on a delicious cake. Thank you, my friends for the recognition, and thank you, my readers for checking out these awesome pages. You will find them informative, funny, smart and worth your time!

http://changeforbetterme.wordpress.com/

http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/

http://breezybooksblog.wordpress.com/

http://www.momentmatters.com/

http://gratitudeequation.wordpress.com/

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Never Sip From A Teacup When You Can Drink From The River

Yesterday and again today, I find myself with a fairly loose schedule. Mr Dreamboat and ImageMax are in Las Vegas at CEO Space and Chase has an obligation to do quite a lot of homework. Lovely Lucy has insured that my home is spit spot clean and so I find myself with some time with which to do as I please.

I don’t know what to do with it.

I think we get so wrapped up in our ‘need to’s and our ‘have to’s that we forget about our ‘want to’s and when there finally comes a time to do them, we’re left wondering what they were.

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Perhaps it looks like this.

What if we put our “musts” aside sometimes and really focused on our “wants”? And further, what if our “wants” are the things that really “need” to be done? What if they’re the things that will truly “bring the sexy back”?

Please don’t worry about me. I will find a way to dive into this day and consume it with all the pleasure of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day. That might look like cleaning out my closet, or it might be an entire day spent in my studio. Perhaps a combination of the two.  It all depends on what I choose.

If it were up to me, your day would spread out before you like a delicious picnic and you Imagewould do all the things that light your fire. I hope you find that elusive extra time, and when you do, I hope you know just what to do with it. 

Merry Thursday.