Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Out

Our power went out for 4 1/2 hours last night. As we adapted to life as a pioneer, it made me wonder about winters back in the day when there weren't lights blazing.

We lit candles, the boys (My Youngest had a friend sleep over) had fun playing with flashlights and I had work to do that didn't need power. I did my work by candle and flash light. The boys eventually settled in and watched a movie on the portable DVD player (operated by a battery pack). All in all, I thought we took the black out in stride.

We ended up going to sleep much earlier than we normally would have - out of the lack of options to keep us awake (plus, after 3 1/2 hours it was getting mighty cool in here).

It made me wonder about life without power in the 1930's. Winters must have been dreadfully long. When my mom's family talked about winter when they grew up, they dwelled on it being cold, really cold. All of the time! They never warmed up until spring. Water froze in the house and the kids stood on the oven door (with a fire going inside of the wood stove) just to keep warm.

What I never thought of when I listened to their stories, were the short winter days. Spending hours on end, in a cold and dimly lit house with a radio (that was used sparingly, to make the battery last longer) as their connection to the outside world, it must have made for some long evenings. As I eagerly crawled under my covers last night (and rounded up spare blankets in case it got too cool), my mind went back in time. All I could think was, "Back in the old days, they must have got a lot of sleep in the winter!"

As our power outage lasted from one hour onto the next, I started thinking of how much we take power for granted. What if there was some catastrophic power outage that lasted for days? How would one get through it? I must admit, that my first thought would be to head to a city with power and find a hotel! But what if it wasn't that simple? What if there was no where to go?

At the very least, I know that I will restock my battery supply. But I admit, it would be nice to install a back up heat source in case of emergency.

I woke up at one point in the night, looked up and my clock smiled out in pride and showed me the correct time. The air outside of my blankets was warm, the hum of the furnace running was in the background. Relief!

There wasn't a crisis of epidemic proportions this time. But what if we weren't so lucky???

Friday, November 28, 2008

What a Marvelous Day!!

I don't know where to start! It was (simply put), a day where one good thing ran into the next.

A perfect day!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Divine Intervention?

It is as if forces beyond my control are beckoning to me. They are telling me that I need a job that provides the flexibility and stability I need, so that I can tend to life matters.

The emergency surgery which stopped me in my tracks a few months ago, appears to have changed the tides for me.

I had barely returned to my full work load when I got notification of an appointment (for a test that I had been waiting for, for over 2 years) on December 1st. This is a test that requires me to take a full day off of work, but this time they scheduled it in a hospital in a town an hour away from here. I am not allowed to drive after this test so it would mean an overnight stay, or else inconveniencing someone to tag along with me and wait so they could drive me home afterwards. Not an option. So I called and asked if it could be rescheduled during my summer holidays - they said they would try.

I received a 'Juror Summons' in the mail today - to be available from February 9th to March 13 for jury duty. I have applied for relief from jury service and I can't even imagine it not being granted. In my line of work, if I don't work ... I don't get paid. How could they make me attend?

It was just over a month ago that I resumed my full kid-load. I have spent the better part of that month trying to readjust to the demands of my days. And in that month, I have had 2 excuses to ask for more time off.

It feels like there is a force bigger than myself, creating some slow-down time in my life. Maybe it would be wise to heed that call?

I Let Myself Off the Hook ...

I wrote my feelings, about the pending Christmas season this morning and basically let myself off the hook. I thought if I live with the spirit of Christmas within me all year, what's the big deal about another festive season on the horizon? Just go with the flow ...

Well, I got caught up in the flow today and I believe I have put together my 'family' portion of the preparations.

I get so excited about what I'm working on and My Youngest is my willing audience. As I showed him the outline of what I was working on this afternoon, it didn't hold his interest and he wandered off. Tonight I put on the polishing touches and he stroked my ego with the comment, "You're so good at those remakes!" (I take a song or poem and intersperse the original verse with my own story - an idea that I blatantly stole from my brother). As My Youngest went off to bed, he was asking about some details for a 'remake' of his own. He's got his own ideas now.

Next, is my daycare family. I have lots of thoughts and I have an idea where I want to go with them. But if it's anything like today, the original plan could escalate in new and improved ways.

I have been so overwhelmed this year, I just didn't know where to start. Today, I made some headway. I'm eager to get caught up in this season once again. Even though I've lived with a piece of the spirit within me all year, I'm ready for a booster shot.

I'm back on the hook again. And looking forward to it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So Much to Do ...

Christmas preparations seem to be falling by the wayside for me this year. This is a season that I usually use to my benefit, to catapult me out of feeling lackadaisical about my life. For some reason, I just can't get myself into Christmas mode. Is it because I've been in that mode for most of the year?

I started this blog in an effort to stay connected to family and friends all year. And I have. I got a Flip Video with the intent of making little movies of life to share with family and friends. I've done that. I started a blog for my daycare families to share the small stories of our day to day life, pictures and movies. I add to that almost daily. I have been searching for family history and memories, to write them down and share them. And I'm continuing to do that. I've started a family blog to try to enhance the family connection in between momentous occasions that we use as an excuse to gather.

I have been using all of my 'Christmas' tools for the entirety of the year. I've made connections with family without the excuse of Christmas. I've gifted my 'movies' to family and friends, without an occasion attached to that. I've brought my daycare families into our day to day world in a way that I used to do with my annual yearbook that I gave to them each Christmas. It honestly feels that anything I do for Christmas will simply be an echo of what I've been doing all year long.

I do believe that I have succeeded with my goal that I set for myself at the end of last year's Christmas season. To keep the season alive all year.

That said, I still see the tasks of Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, Christmas baking and Christmas chores that lie before me. I just want to coast through this season now. I've celebrated all year long. And it is a much better way to live the rest of the 11 months that precede this much celebrated season that lies ahead.

So much to do ... but maybe I won't do it all this year?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creating Busy

I have a knack of making everything a chore! I used to tape 2 weekly TV shows that I would watch at some time before the next week's episode came on. That was a fun and simple life ...

Lately, I have added 4 more weekly favorites to my weekly TV diet, I'm addicted to Dancing With the Stars and I tape Oprah every day. Whew. That is a lot of TV watching to squeeze into my evenings.

I am overwhelmed with relief this week. Tonight is the last episode of Dancing With the Stars (so that saves me almost 2 hours of TV time per week) and all but one of my favorite evening shows isn't showing a new episode this week (due to Thanksgiving in the U.S. perhaps?). That will save me oodles of time!! Hooray!

Any guess how I'll probably fill those hours? Probably watching the DVD set of Gilmore Girls that I just picked up on the weekend.

I honestly believe that I am deranged.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Family Day

There are many ironies in some of the choices that I have made to 'focus on family'.

Running a daycare from home has meant that I have been an at-home mom, but unavailable for any school activities where kids would love to have a parent come along. Not working Saturdays should have allowed more time for family activities. But instead of working 6 hours a week outside of my house, I seem to be working an average of 15 hours or more per week at home. It seems that I spend less and less time being a 'present-parent figure', the more I focus on working from home.

Today wasn't like that. In fact, we've spent several 'family moments' together these past several days. A stay-at-home movie night a few evenings. And today, we left the house at 11:30 were gone for 5 hours. We saw a movie, did some Christmas shopping, splurged on a few items for ourselves, had lunch ... then came home and wrapped presents together to wind up the day.

It was a perfect day. With Kurt's growing independence, he doesn't have to come with me, every single place that I go anymore. He's developing his own circle of friends so he doesn't need me as much either. Our interests in movies and TV shows are growing wider apart, so there just isn't as much to bond us lately. Then again, I am often busy working at one project or another so I think he has given up on me a lot too.

Our intent to see an early movie was thwarted (they wouldn't accept our coupon for that particular movie), but it resulted in a much longer lasting occasion. We went to another theatre (that accepted my coupon), saw a later show and enjoyed filling the time in between.

The day turned out to be quite a gift. I like when a day unfolds as this one did. It was a perfect Sunday.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Paradox of Our Time

At the end of my dance lesson last night, my instructor handed me this essay to read. Our world has become such a crazy place at times. The only thing that I feel that is within my control, is the peace and tranquility within the confines of my own life and home.

There is so much to absorb, in this peace of writing. I would like to take it in, one sentence at a time and try to change just one small piece of my life so that I am not living the paradox.

The Paradox of Our Time

"The paradox of our time in history is that...
We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers.
Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less.
We buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families.
More conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense.
More knowledge, but less judgment.
More experts, but more problems.
More medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly,
laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly,
stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little,
watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life;
We've added years to life, not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We've conquered outer space, but not inner space;
We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less;
We plan more, but accomplish less;
We've learned to rush, but not to wait;
We have higher incomes, but lower morals;
We have more food, but less appeasement.
We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure,but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to make a difference, or to just hit delete..."

Dr. Bob Moorehead

The essay appeared under the title "The Paradox of Our Age" in Words Aptly Spoken, Dr. Moorehead's 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues used in his sermons and radio broadcasts.

Normal Life Returns

The dramas, the highs, the lows, the influx of people, ideas and enthusiasm seems to levelled out in my world. I'm coasting in 'normal mode' at the moment. I guess I've become addicted to that racing heart, the excitement of a challenge to overcome and something to feel passionate about. This state feels odd to me.

That statement explains a lot when it comes to the relationships I've had. I've never chosen the easy road. I've chosen the challenging one. When the challenges are overcome or life feels too normal, my passion fades.

I've often commented that I don't do normal very well. I can handle life's tough moments in stride. It is the normal day to day moments that are harder for me.

I believe that is why I've forged out of my comfort zone a lot this past year or so. I'm creating my own challenges and thus, I get that adrenaline rush. It is better that I involve only myself in this whirlwind of emotion. If someone around me can benefit from my excitement, that is a bonus. I've climbed some mountains and felt the exhilaration of conquering a few.

The mountains that I fail to conquer are the ones in my daily life. I have chosen to stay home to be a more hands-on kind of mom. Because of that choice, I have sacrificed the flexibility to be able to attend school functions, go on school field trips or be available to hear about Kurt's school day ... because I have a house full of kids. And just because I can manage and organize the children that file through my doors ... does it make me an effective caregiver?

I wandered through the last moments of my week with the thought "I can be better than this." I am mediocre at most everything I am. In trying to be too much, to too many ... I am letting down the people that I affect most directly. The children in my care, my own immediate family. Because I am scrambling to keep myself feeling alive and passionate about life, I seem to be letting down too many others.

I need to narrow my focus in one specific area. To be the best person that I could be. Would I choose 'me' to be my mother? Would I choose 'me' to watch over my child? Would I choose 'me' to be the person to spend the rest of my life with? Would I choose 'me' as a confidante, friend or relative?

In some areas of that line of questioning, I am doing okay. Mediocre perhaps? In other areas, I need a lot of work. It is time to settle in and do some work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Need Older Friends

I dropped my car keys off, at my friendly neighborhood garage tonight (to have them check into a few things on my car for me). As I was explaining this klunking sound that my car has in the front, right hand side I told the mechanic that it often happened after I had made a sharp turn and was unturning my wheels. He just laughed and said, "I haven't heard it explained quite that way before ... 'unturned' ... I'm just going to write it down as you said it." He had a small chuckle at my expense as I rewound the tape and realized I should have said "straightened out the wheels''. I laughed and told him that I'm hanging around too many 4 year olds.

This is why I write. I need to practise my adult vocabulary!

Simple Pleasures

I love finding joy in small things ...

I had put off buying dish clothes and pot holders for months. I kept crossing them off my list and adding them to the bottom of the next months list because they just seemed to cost so much for such a small thing. And, what I had still worked.

I finally made it to the 'Dollarama' last week - where absolutely nothing in the store costs more than a dollar. Nothing! It is a fantastic store where a person can afford a few frivolous purchases.

And ... I found oven mitts (a dollar per mitt) and dish clothes (3 for a dollar). As I brought out another new dish cloth this morning, I got a small thrill. My other dish clothes were so ratty and not so white anymore. And I got to bring out my new dishcloth! And all it cost me was 33.33 cents!

I have been fairly diligent with the budgeting since August but I've still allowed myself some extravagances. It's funny how much more pleasure I have gotten from my 'dollar' purchases than I have from those that cost much more than a dollar.

The best things in life are cheap!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Power of Thought

"An insult doesn't have to be shouted at you to make you bleed; a vow doesn't have to be whispered to you to make you believe. Hold a thought in your head, and that is enough to change the actions of anyone and anything that crosses your path."
(An excerpt from 'The Tenth Circle' by Jodi Picoult)

I read this today and was reminded of something I already know. The power that we hold within ourselves ...

'The Secret' envelopes this concept. And although it sounds a little hokey, from my own experience it seems to be true.

10 years ago I had a dream. To support myself from home and be a more hands on parent. I visualized it, I believed it, I dreamed it could happen. And though I've had some challenging times, in the end it always works out. Always.

The last relationship I was in had its hills and valleys. I had to talk myself through some of the tough spots but I knew one thing was true. When I focused on everything he was ... I was happy and content within our relationship. When I believed anything was possible, I felt like it was true. It was when I stopped believing that I ran into trouble.

When a person focuses on the negative in any situation and spends a lot of 'internal energy' on that negativity the thoughts become reality.

When I read that passage in my book this afternoon, I realized that my thoughts were shifting my reality (and not necessarily in a good way). If I keep walking around thinking as I have been, I could change my world.

I'm ready for a shifting of the tides, but I want it to happen in a positive way. I want to enjoy the process and not make enemies or mistakes along the way. I need look for the silver lining in my days but also look into the horizon for what I want in my future.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Treat Yourself ...

"Treat yourself with love and respect, and you will attract people who show you love and respect."

This is 'The Secret' quote for today. I believe those words with all of my heart.

I am in the best place in my life right now. I feel surrounded in good, positive, warm and caring people. I have never felt so serene, so ... good.

I look back on the people that surrounded me throughout my life. My friendships, relationships and how I felt about myself and how it felt others treated me.

As I lived those years, I can see how relationships mirrored what I felt about myself at the time. I have had a rather low self esteem at times, but when push came to shove I fought my way out of believing it was true.

I can remember being a young, quiet child and the thoughts inside my head were, "If only they really knew me ... they would like me." Looking back at the person I was then, I can't believe that even underneath the shy veneer, I believed in myself.

I have had 2 major 'relationships' in my life. In each of them, I believe that I let that person treat me the way I was feeling about myself. If you believe you are unworthy of being treated with respect, it is almost a certainty that you will find someone who will treat you disrespectfully. Your thoughts then become your reality.

I gave each of those relationships my 3 best attempts. I let guilt override common sense and I kept trying to change the outcome. But the reality is that I 'taught' that other person how to treat me. And somewhere deep inside of me, I knew that I deserved better.

I have spent this past year and a half rebuilding myself from the inside. In many ways I feel that I have accomplished more personal goals in this past year than I have done in my lifetime that preceded this. I have fallen in love with my life. I am surrounded with amazing people that I admire and respect ... and the feeling seems to be mutual. It is a very heady feeling to be living a life that feels so natural and like such a perfect 'fit'.

It is a frightening prospect ... but lately my thoughts and dreams have been daring to believe that there could be another man for me somewhere in my future. I truly believe that if I do attract someones attention, they would see the person that I have become. Not the person that I used to be. I believe that I would attract someone who would treat me the way I treat myself.

I am grateful for the quiet belief that I have had in myself all along. If it wasn't for that quiet 'knowing' inside of me, I could have been swept away and lost in a relationship that wasn't healthy for me. My heart goes out to anyone who is caught up in that cycle. You have to have something strong to hold onto, to get out of that situation. You have to believe in yourself. Because when it comes right down to it, only you can save yourself. But first of all, you have to believe you are worth saving ...

Treat yourself with love and respect ...

Friday, November 14, 2008

A New Day!

Peace reigns in my heart, home and being this morning. It is an awesome sensation (heightened by the fact that not every day is like this ... there is a reason that every day is not a great one).

I had a very tough time ridding myself of the residue of yesterday's melt down. In true 'me' fashion, I thought I deserved a break yesterday and picked up McDonald's for supper. It may be a commercial catch phrase, but I tell you ... it worked!

I sat and savored my messy Big Mac (I haven't had one of those in so long), I took some time to recover from my crazy-busy/loud/chaotic/frustrating day. Then I took a deep breath and headed towards the computer to work on some bookwork that had been staring at me all day. Wouldn't you know it? Technical difficulties prevented me from going back to work. I silently said a few words of thanks, breathed a heavy sigh of relief and enjoyed the rest of my evening.

This morning, you wouldn't know that it is the same house. Instead of 6 kids for lunch ... I will have 2. Instead of 5 kids running around here all morning ... I have 1. Instead of the phone ringing on a regular basis with incessant changes to the day ... it has rang only once (before the day started). We walked to the mailbox this morning. I haven't been able to leave the house for so long, I've forgotten the last time we had a chance we had to escape the premises. That walk, alone was tonic for my weary body and mind. Instead of 6 coming here after school ... I have 4.

And (this is the part that made me happy even before I knew today was going to be such a peaceful day) ... I get to go to my dance lesson tonight!! Simply knowing that I have this precious half hour to look forward to, at the end of what feels like a very long week ... is wonderful!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saved by the Bell

Man ... did I ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning! Well, I actually didn't realize that, until my first 2 children of the day arrived. The minute they demanded anything of me, I realized that I was running on empty.

I'm not coping with the kids. Not at all.

Then the phone rang. It was my sister and she asked how my morning was. I had a chance to let some of my frustrations out in words. To an adult. The moment passed.

Since the return of my full kid-load, I've had schedule changes by 3 of my families that have younger children. One comes for 9 hours a day and I have no idea whether they are coming ... or not (the dad got a new job). They used to come for 3 hours and I knew the shift rotation and knew when to expect them. The second family used to come 2 weeks of full days and 2 weeks from 2:30 until 5:00. For now, they come every single morning, full days every other day and apparently I'm guessing as to when pick-up is again (the parents are separated and things are very up in the air in their world, but they had been keeping me informed as to who was coming and when). The 3rd family is now coming to pick up their child at 5:30 (or later) ... they used to come at 4:30, 3 days a week and between 5:00 & 5:30, 2 days a week (that extra half hour to an hour at the end of the day feels endless). All together, it makes such a difference to my coping skills. Especially because all of these families have 3 yr olds and under.

I am so frustrated, I could scream. I'm afraid that is possibly at the root of my frustration level this morning. I think what is hardest of all, is the fact that I feel like I can't say a word to these families. One mom is pregnant and hasn't kept food down for 2 weeks. Her troubles are far more serious than my frustrations. The other family is doing their best. By a comment that was made when the mom was here yesterday morning, it sounds like it was a rough weekend as they are dealing with their own family crisis.

How can I let this feel like such a big thing when these families are doing their best, in a bad situation?

All I can say is ... thank goodness my sister called. Adult intervention is sometimes the best medicine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Year Ago Today ...

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. I feel rather blah. So I thought I'd reread my words from a year ago:

Sunday, Nov 11/07 6:53 pm

I just realized that I hadn't even thought about sitting down and journalling my thoughts these past many days. Wow. I think that is quite possibly the best sign of my state of mind yet. No need to rehash, recall, mull over any of my thoughts. No loneliness to drive me to sit at the computer and write to myself. My thoughts are completely and totally ... normal. Time on my hands, a long weekend is here with oodles of down time ... it is my birthday today ... nothing. I am good. I feel good. I feel blessed and surrounded by wonderful, uplifting, caring, vital and good, good people in my life!!! Idle time is my friend once again. No nervous energy to wear off. No need to bide the hours with something to distract me. No need to run off anywhere. It had crossed my mind to possibly head out to Edmonton this weekend, but as the time neared, it simply wasn't necessary. We are planning on going out at Christmas and that will be good. It will be good to go for all of the right reasons (not that any of my running escapades have turned out to be anything other than fantastic, but it is nice to just go because I want to go).

And so I begin the 48th year of my life ... 47 years old today .... I appreciate the wisdom I have gained .... the strong bonds I have formed in my life .... the 'life' I have made for myself and my family .... I feel my home is my refuge, my place of happiness, contentment .... I feel that all of the people in my life are good for me ... they bring me up and are simply good people. I am happy. I am happy!! And I am so content. My self confidence is back and possibly stronger than before. All that was shattered is coming back together and I feel better than I have in such a very long time. I am so blessed. So very, very blessed. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

One year and one day later ...

I could have written those exact same words again yesterday. There is something that I gained in my life that has remained with me. And so begins the next year of my life!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Early Morning Epiphany

I woke up to a most marvelous dream this morning ...

In my dream, I had found someone special and had fallen in love again. I looked up into his eyes and knew the feeling was mutual.

Then, in typical dream/movie fashion, I was able to turn back the clock to the moment we met. In reliving that precious moment, I wanted to make a better first impression. So I did something different. The dream continued ... and because I changed that one moment in time, he never did notice me, we never met and the course of my life was changed forever.

I woke up at that moment and laid there with those thoughts drifting through my mind. Each action, word we speak, decision we make (or don't) can alter the course of our life forever.

It would be so interesting if we could turn back the hands of time and see where we would be today if we had altered just one thing in our lives. I've seen too many movies with this as the theme, but I believe that Hollywood is right. (In most non-life threatening cases) no matter where we think we would be, if we could change just one moment in time ... it wouldn't be better than the spot we are in right now.

A Bonus Day

I am savoring a 'mid-week' day off today. I wrote about wishing for a bonus hour in the day yesterday morning and I woke up this morning with an entire bonus day!

I love days without a scheduled agenda, though I have a hidden one in mind. Today is like that. I have an idea what I hope to do with my spare hours today but I expect a few interruptions. It's unlike the days off that I had when I was in the thick of putting together Mom's family history book. Days that I didn't want to share or invite interruptions. This feeling is enjoyable.

Ideas are free falling through my mind and I love it. Creativity doesn't work when it's forced upon you.

That said, I must keep this short. The minutes are ticking away. After I wrote that sentence, I jotted down a short list of my free falling thoughts. Time to act on a few ....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Winter is in the Air

We have had a beautiful fall. It has stretched on so long that I forgot that winter was around the corner.

This morning there is just a light dusting of snow on the ground. The streets look icy and it's minus 4 outside ...

I'm not really looking forward to the cold, winter season ahead. Short days and little sun don't always add up to the best of coping skills.

Last winter went by so fast. That is my aim once again this year. I have enough projects on the go to keep me busy all winter and into spring. Too many projects? Maybe. But just enough to keep my mind busy. A busy mind is a happy mind (as long as it is busy with good things).

I don't know what lies in store for me today. I guess I'm glad that I've got kids coming today (I just wish I knew how many). It forces me to get up and ready for the day at an earlier hour.

I just read a comment that a friend (from Alberta) wrote on facebook on the morning of daylight savings time. She was annoyed that she was awake at 6 am due to the time change. I sighed when I read that. What a bonus it would be to wake up at the same time and have the illusion of one extra hour added onto your morning! I love mornings ... to have the gift of an 'extra hour' would be fantastic. I guess I could set the clock in my room an hour ahead and be 'surprised' every morning by that bonus hour ...

What could a person could do with an extra hour each day?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Love Weekends!!

I have now had 2 solid months of 2-day weekends. And it is fantastic!!

The unfortunate part is - the more time off I have, the less I accomplish. Odd ... but true.

My time seems to be filled with people and activity, not hustle and bustle. And this is good. Focusing on friends and family is a wonderful investment of time. I seem to be renewing old friendships, finding stronger friendships among those I already had, getting to know people better and simply having the time to savor each visit.

It is still such a novelty to have this luxury of time. Having only one day off made me so greedy with the time that I had left at the end of a day or week. And I'm sure I exuded that feeling that I was always watching the clock. As time has become more plentiful, I have had the most relaxing visits.

I have had a weekend immersed in friends and family. Between long distance phone bundles, emails and friends near by ... a person can so easily keep in touch.

I love these 2 day weekends!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Turning a Corner

I had a very good day.

I had an 'all small kid' load today. And it was enjoyable. I didn't enjoy the part where the 2 yr old threw up his lunch ... but the rest was okay.

I even found some 'movie moments' in the day. I have started video taping the kids once again and when I made up our Friday Video to post on the daycare blog, I watched it over and over again. When I see the recap of my week in a 3 1/2 minute video clip, set to soothing music, it makes me wonder what I was so worked up about ... (a little bit, anyway).

In the quiet of the day, I was able to putter away at 3 of my Christmas projects. None completely finished ... but all, well under way. That feels great! The bad thing about having so many different ideas in my head, is that I just don't know where to start. Start at the beginning ... that's a very good place to begin (I believe that's from the Sound of Music).

I sat down and recapped the year in all the various parts of my life, just to see what I have to work with for my Christmas writing.

My personal and family life was full! I haven't had a chance to really sit and ponder it, but there was always something going on. From personal goals achieved ... to family events and celebrations. My heart and home are happy. It's been an eventful year.

Time spent with friends has been plentiful. I wrote down some of the bigger events, but the year was filled with small and meaningful visits as well. I haven't made room for 'friends' in my life for a very long time. This past year has been absolutely miraculous. It was a very 'friendly' year!

I sat and wrote down my daycare happenings. I had one child outgrow his need to come to daycare and I had 2 new families begin coming here. I had one child come (his mother was frantic to find someone) for the 2 months before my new 1 year old began. But other than that ... it has been a very stable and uneventful daycare year. That is a good thing. I like it when my families stay for the long term. It is so much easier when everyone knows everyone. From the kids knowing their friends come and stay ... to me knowing my parents ... and knowing the kids. Stable and uneventful is good, in the daycare world. I'm finding positives at every turn now.

This is what the magic of Christmas does for me. It takes me out of body and lets me look at my life from the outside, looking in. When I sit and write my Christmas letters, poems, cards and everything else that I create, I find myself focusing on the positive. When I think about the gifts I can give, I am thinking of the recipient. The gift of giving is the best gift that I could ever receive.

I've been waiting to start to feel these Christmas time feelings. I usually start focusing on Christmas soon after Thanksgiving. I'm running behind this year. Maybe that is part of the reason that I have been feeling so overwhelmed. Maybe I need to put some of the other projects that I have on the go, on a back burner for now. Focusing on what I love about Christmas will fuel my fires and I'll be ready to tackle my other projects full throttle, when I have Christmas behind me.

I was asked the question 'What are your 2 favorite holidays?' recently. I should have answered that Christmas was one of them. I shunned the idea, because it felt like it would read as if I liked getting gifts. That couldn't be further from the truth. I love the card exchange, connecting with friends and family, finding ways to give without spending money and creating some kind of 'magic' in my gifts ...

When I started this blog, it was to try to find a way to keep that spirit of Christmas alive all year long. In many, many ways that has happened. I have never been in closer contact with so many people ... all year long. I have gifted small tokens of 'gifts' throughout the year. I have had 'Christmas' all year!

Christmas does this for me every year. Focusing on others takes the focus off of me. I need to get out of my own head sometimes. I was ready for this season.

Yes, I do believe that I have finally turned that corner and I am headed down Happy Street once more!!


As I was going through old receipts yesterday morning, I found the ticket stub to the movie 'Enchanted'. At the same time, that was the movie that was playing for my first arrival of the day. I love that movie ...

For anyone who doesn't know the movie, the premise is that a fairy tale character is thrown into the real, non-fairy-tale world. She doesn't change her expectations of the world ... her world, in which dreams make wishes come true. And before you know it, the people of the real world were drawn into her dreamy world, where they sang and danced in the streets.

Yes, it is a fairy tale. But not entirely. If you are around a person who believes in magic, you are drawn into that world.

Attitudes are infectious. As this fairy tale character swirled her magic among the real world, people started to smile and their loads were lightened as they felt swept up in her essence.

I love to be around people with an attitude that I would like to rub off on me. I have neglected some relationships in my life lately ... and I believe that it is the negativity that I am shunning. Not necessarily the person.

Life may not be a fairy tale, but I do believe that dreams can make wishes come true.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Addicted to Happiness

I have quickly grown accustomed to feeling happy. Waking up and loving your life is a most wonderful habit to be in. I hadn't been feeling so elated with my life the last little while and I mourned the loss of that bounce in my step.

The past few days have turned things around for me once again. I know a person can't always be feeling on top of their world. The low spots, the struggles, the challenges and stress and even the tedium of the same old, same old are just a part of life. The secret is not to lose yourself in those down turns.

I have been falling prey to letting myself dwell on the negativity. I looked at the days and I didn't feel in control. For me, that is key. In a situation where you feel like you have no control, there is still some small portion that you can do something about. How you react to it.

It was the overwhelmed feeling that I had in my daycare world that was bringing me down the most. When I actually sat down, wrote what I was feeling and saw it looking back at me, I realized that what was bothering me specifically wasn't the entirety of the situation. But a few small pieces. And when I dissected those 'pieces' more carefully, I saw that I wasn't fighting a losing battle - I was already ahead of the game because my parents were communicating with me. It's just that I have so many of them, that I was feeling that my days were spinning out of control. And they are not.

I did what I always do when I feel my daycare situation is running amok. I wrote a newsletter. Putting words to paper and sharing them requires me to take a positive spin ... I still voiced my frustrations in a way to make my point but not have anyone take offense. That step alone, forces me to focus on what is positive in a negative situation. So I am already half way there when I find the right words.

Nothing has changed. Our day is still changing like the wind, a parent didn't pack spare clothes for their 2 yr old ... my 3 yr old in training had yet another accident, my 4 yr old with 'attitude' was sharing that again this morning, a mom with a day off on Monday is probably bringing her 2 yr old anyway - just because she can. This is my life.

My parents know how I feel and I am counting down the months to many of these upcoming maternity leaves (these families are my worst offenders) and I am grateful that nature has provided me a way out of some of this!

Not so long ago, I panicked when I realized all of these maternity leaves would upend my budget again. Last week, I realized I may be able to replace that lost income with a non-kid option. Today, I am grateful that some of these endless problems have an end in sight.

God never closes a door, without opening a window. Happiness may not be a daily occurence, but while you are waiting ... go find a new window to look through.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Difference a Day Makes

Lately, there has been a weariness that has set in. I was beyond exhausted last night. I slept until my alarm woke me this morning (I am always awake before my alarm). I wrote this mornings blog on exhaustion and I faced the day.


I finished a few tasks that were on my mental to-do list. I had all of my kids picked up and gone by 5:40 tonight. I didn't have any work to do tonight. And it felt fantastic.

A sense of glee was deep inside of me as I cherished the moments of the evening. As Kurt and I ran an errand, we had an enjoyable conversation (and he thinks I'm doing a pretty good job as a mom). We weren't racing against the clock, but I was glad that we weren't gone long.

I sat and watched Dancing With the Stars with our cat. I went to him, picked him up and lavished attention on him before he demanded it. He rewarded me with his deepest, most heartfelt purr.

I puttered through the evening with nothing on my agenda. I just savored the moments, knowing that I had a good day behind me.

A good day. The kids weren't over the top today. Their behaviours were all enjoyable, they were all happy, very little arguing (well there is one voice that grated on my nerves a lot throughout the day but it lessened as the day wore on). I handed out my reworded newsletters to my parents. I believe that I made the points that I wanted to make and was sensitive in the way I worded things. It always feels good to open the lines of communication and my newsletters have always worked that magic for me.

The weights have been lifted off my shoulders. I feel light enough to carry the weight that I still have to carry and work on lessening the load a little bit more tomorrow.

It was a very good day.


The exhaustion that has seeped into my 'being' is telling. Even when I went through the overloaded moments when I was putting together my mom's family's history book, they passed. I took a day or two to let myself recoup and I was off and running again.

It feels different this time. My full daycare load plus my second job are filling my days and nights. My weekends aren't my own, because I feel like I'm on call for this second job (that is simply the way I feel - that has a workable solution). I now have 2 consecutive days off, but I'm not putting them to the best use.

I looked back at the last week of hours that I put in, at this 'bookkeeping' job. I worked every evening until 9 or 9:30 except 2. And those 2 evenings, I had my own plans. I felt guilty for taking a 'crash and burn' day on Saturday, but on looking back at my week I see why I needed it.

The daycare world is taxing me more than it needs to be. It is my reaction to the days that is wearing me down. I sat down and started writing up a newsletter to the parents yesterday. I thought it was at the stage to print off and hand out when divine intervention stepped in and made me take a moment to pause.

My (almost) new printer has stopped printing some colors. I thought if I changed the ink cartridges that would work, but the problem was still happening after that. So I spent an hour 'chatting' online with one of the service reps and then to someone on the phone when he realized that I needed to get a replacement part (covered by warranty).

So the newsletter didn't go out. All I can say is "Whew!"

I deleted several paragraphs that were written with a little too much emotion. But even after I did that, there was a feeling of desperation in my writing. I needed to take that day to cool off and reword things.

The printer could have printed off the newsletter as it was. But the timing of my service call to the printer company stopped the press. I am so relieved.

Writing my feelings has always been an outlet for me. Sometimes those words written in the heat of the moment are thoughts best kept to myself. I don't always put the brakes on sending, printing or voicing my words in time.

I'm grateful for a printer problem that halted me in my tracks yesterday. I'm in a much better place this morning to put words to paper that are worthy of sharing ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change ...

My unpredictable daycare schedule, the colds and flus that the kids bring through the door, other people's behaviour, the whims of children ...

The courage to change the things I can ...

Writing a newsletter to my parents to confront some of the issues that keep arising, find a way to prevent my second job from putting my weekends into limbo, start one Christmas project, smile ....

And the wisdom to know the difference.

‘I believe that all wisdom consists in caring immensely for a few right things, and not caring a straw about the rest.’
John Buchan

Another quote I found on wisdom that made me smile and think:

‘We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again—and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.’
Mark Twain

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Coincidence?

8 days after the small miracle of hearing from my friend (who I haven't crossed paths with, in decades) right after I was thinking of her, I received another surprise email this morning.

I heard from my uncle, who I had just been thinking of sending an email to. We have been exchanging the odd email lately, so it isn't quite the miracle that it was to hear from my friend last week. But he just happened to forward me some pictures of his weekend adventure on the very same day that I was thinking about him.

How often does this happen that we don't realize? Wouldn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to think that as you were thinking of someone ... that they were thinking of you at the same time? I have a feeling that our connection on this place called earth is far beyond the obvious.

I love the connection that email, long distance phone bundles and the many modes of communication that are available to keep people 'close', no matter how far apart they are. But this magical connection that I've been on the receiving end, these past few weeks makes me believe that there is a 'wireless' connection among us. We just have to tune into it.

So Much To Do ...

So little time ...

The transition back into my full babysitting load hasn't been without its challenges. Not only are my days noisier, more hectic and unpredictable, but I can't squeeze in extra work or errands during the day like I had the luxury of doing during my 'work slow down time'. The extra demands on my after hours time and the extra demands on my patience levels have taken the words out of my fingertips as I readjust to this new equilibrium. It's far easier to slow down the pace of life than to pick it up where you last left off.

The direct comparison as to how I felt about my days when I had fewer kids around has me reexamining where I want to go from here.

I believe I'm a far better person when I am less taxed by the kids. I have 9 different families that I work for and lately I feel like I am at their mercy. Last minute changes to the day and my budget have run rampant in the 2 weeks that I've been back to my full babysitting load.

I took on a bookkeeping type of job a few months ago. And I love it. I can do it from home, at the time and pace of my choosing. And I get paid for it! It is wonderful. As the last few weeks were taking their toll, I made it known to the lady I work for that I would be happy to work more for her and lessen my kid-load. Then I had an accountant friend over on the weekend and repeated my story. She perked up and asked if I'd be interested in taking on more work. I told her that I don't have a formal education in accounting, but I have a head for numbers, I love a challenge and I'm up to the task. She said that she often has people asking if she knows someone who could help them (basically doing what I am doing for this other company) and asked if I would like her to pass along my name. YES!!!

Nothing will happen over night, but my daycare load won't dwindle over night either. I have 3 families that will be on maternity leave over the course of the next 6 to 7 months. 6 or 7 months to try and focus on a new direction.

I have opened myself to the possibilities that are out there. I have made my wishes known ... I believe this could work.

I feel the tides changing. I'm willing to go where the flow takes me ...