Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Andre Movie

I still love my 'Flip Video' - it is so neat to be able to capture these small but precious memories that bring our little family so much joy.

We are cat lovers through and through ... and we just love our 'Andre' cat! Here he is, up to some new tricks:

video

I Love Saturdays!

Many times last night, I woke up and tried to orient myself with the time and day of the week. Each time I realized that the morning ahead of me was Saturday, I felt a small thrill. The excitement and joy of 2 days from my weekly responsibilities elates me.

My 'new life' since I took a leave of absence from my Saturday job has been nothing short of wonderful. Beyond the luxury of 2 day weekends there is so much more in my life.

As I was telling someone who didn't realize that my life had taken this small shift yesterday, I felt myself panic as I said the words out loud. This decision to take a break from my Saturday job and the ability to take on a bookkeeping job from the comfort of my own home has been the best choice that I could have ever made. But was I jinxing my good fortune by 'bragging' about it??

Emotionally, I am so fulfilled to have a 2 day break. I am able to say 'yes' to things as a parent, that my Saturday job usually meant an automatic 'no'. I don't feel like I'm constantly racing against the clock. I have time for 'me'. I have time for friends. I have time to be a mom. I have time ...

Taking on the bookkeeping job meant sacrifices to that time. I worked through many weekends at first and I did question if this was the right decision. Yes, I was at home. But working all weekend, I was no more available as a parent than I would be, if I was working 6 hours out of my home.

Financially, this job has created a comfort level that my budget has rarely known. There is money left over at the end of the month for the first time that I can remember. Maybe I am not setting high enough financial goals with this new found income but the key is, that I am not spending more than I am making. Spending just a little more than I make has been a recurring theme in my budgeting. This time around, I am making wiser choices and not loosening the purse strings. The reality of the 6 weeks of reduced income after my surgery last fall has kept me very aware of the precarious situation that I am in financially. It was a very good lesson for me.

I have always stood by the idea that money can't buy happiness. I still believe that. But a comfortable financial situation does buy a sense of peace. A feeling that the rug can't be too easily ripped out from underneath you. I recognize that this feeling of peace that I feel at the end of this month, comes from a lot of things. One of which, is financially based. Instead of wondering how I will juggle my finances to make it all work, I am deciding how to best utilize what is left over.

In the economic uncertainty in the world around us, I know that nothing can be taken for granted. The business that I am doing bookkeeping for, is a small company. The owner built it from the bottom up ... but there is a lot of stress involved in keeping everyone happy in a thriving business. Who knows what lies ahead?

Nothing in this world is certain. I choose to make the best out of the opportunities that I am given. That has proven to be successful in my life. I like to ride the waves that I encounter in life. Swimming against the current has never been my way. And I'm riding a very good wave right now. And I am going to go and make the best of my Saturday!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Regaining Equilibrium

My life has been out of balance lately. As I try to shift myself into some kind of routine with the extra responsibilities that I have, while maintaining some time to replenish myself (and I've become very good at hanging onto the things that bring me pleasure) it seems that I've lost my drive, my energy and my enthusiasm to tackle the goals I have set before me.

I've upped my 'exercise' routine to 40 minutes every morning. And it is easy (too easy - I'm not breaking a sweat). But the habit is forming and that was the goal that I was trying to attain. Plus, some positive ions are working their way back into my consciousness. I believe that getting up and moving is helping with that.

My words seem to be stuck within me lately though. I'm not feeling a positive flow of words flowing out of my fingers. I'm not feeling a negative flow either. The words are just not there.

And so it is, with the ebbs and flows of life. The energy of the world around you comes in waves. I started the new year with an outpouring of words (if not energy) and it only makes sense that this had to ebb and find a new balance.

I'm feeling a sense of balance return to my inner being. On the balance beam of life, that equilibrium is a good thing to find and keep returning to.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Unexpected Treat

I'm hooked on reading. Yesterday afternoon, I finished reading the book that I started on Sunday. Today, I started reading another.

Kurt had a dentist appointment to go to tonight, so I thought to grab my book. What a purely enjoyable wait it was. I read my book, knowing that there was not another thing in the world that I could have been doing with that time.

I couldn't believe what a lift it gave me, to indulge in such a very simple pleasure. It was a perfect evening.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lazy Days and Mondays

Okay, I just endured one of the laziest weekends that I have had for a while. I couldn't even thoroughly enjoy it, because I knew that there were so many things that I should have been doing!

Did I even spend any of that time making an 'action plan' to get myself in motion? No. Did I utilize the time to instill a lot of positive talk within myself? No. What did I do???

Hmmm ... let's see ... I danced, ran errands, went to a movie, ran more errands, had a movie night at home ... exercised (yay!!) ... talked on the phone to a friend and my mom ... sent one email ... watched a few 'missed episodes' of TV programs I enjoy (I love being able to go to the TV stations website and watch an episode that I've missed) ... and ... I started reading a book.

I haven't read a book since before Christmas. And even at that, I didn't even enjoy it. It was just another thing to mark off my to-do list. So I promised myself that I wasn't going to waste another book until I had time to savor it. And that, I did!!

I love losing myself in a good book! It was a most excellent way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon and evening. Something I haven't done in a very long time.

I've doubled up on my exercise time. I'm up to 40 minutes now. It isn't the actual exercise that I find hard - it is sacrificing that time in the morning. I love my mornings to indulge myself in my guilty pleasures. Watching a TV show that I have taped while I have my morning smoothie and cup of coffee; writing in my blogs; reading or sending emails or (this morning) sitting back and reading a book. I have to get up between 5:00 and 5:30 to accomplish all of this. But if I am fulfilled before my day begins, I am destined to have a much better day.

I feel ready for whatever this week has in store. I've replenished myself and I'm ready to go.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stuck

I have been idling in limbo-land this week. Spinning my wheels, going no where. Stuck. My words have been halted as well and I haven't been drawn to write my thoughts. I guess when I don't feel like I'm headed in a firm direction, I lose a sense of myself. It amazes me, how the words that you need to hear, are presented to you ... if only you listen.

'Greys Anatomy' often speaks to me. This past weeks episode had a thread of 'being stuck in limbo' as part of the storyline. I felt the similarity in my own life. Stuck in between thinking and doing. Stuck.

I have a 'Mountain Wings' email greet me every morning. Friday's message contained the theme that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. They will get it done. As it went on, it described the qualities of that busy person and explained the dynamics of how this works. I read it, I understood it, I believe it ... and I thought "I used to be that busy person" ... I need to get busy again.

I've been watching the web casts on Oprah's 'Best Life Series' this past week. There were morsels of information in each show that I wrote down (enough to fill almost 6 pages in a scribbler that I have named "Oprah isms"). The quote that resonated with me this week was "What gifts lie within me that I promised myself to share, that I have not dusted off for a while?" Hm mm .... I have made promises to myself that I am not keeping.

As the week progressed, I knew that the only answer was to start getting busy. I not only have to dust off that, which is within me ... but I think I need a good, swift kick-start!

I have so many responsibilities, ideas and goals within me at the moment that I feel overwhelmed. Yet I still try to reserve my evenings for my 'down time'. It is whatever I can squeeze into my 9 - 5 hours (while I am tending the kids), that I am getting done. I'm willing to give up one day of my weekend, but not both. I'm carving out time for myself. It is like grabbing an oxygen mask for yourself, so that you can help others. If I don't take care of my most basic needs, I will get no where.

So, I need to kick-start today. An entire day lies before me. How can I best spend it??

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Step at a Time

I have developed far more bad eating/exercise habits than good ones this past year (or more). So I am trying to redevelop some better habits. Trying to change a lot of things at the same time simply doesn't work for me. So I'm trying to add or deduct one habit a week.

Week #1 - I added drinking 2 litres of water to my day. That was easy. Instead of grabbing a third and fourth cup of coffee, I grabbed a water bottle. I added that to my day and have continued on with that small step in the right direction.

Week #2 - I stopped buying potato chips. Not a big thing for many people. A huge thing for me. I look at a bag of chips and I start to salivate, my knees go weak and my resistance to the lure of whatever sale is on (and there is always a sale) is nil. So as easy as that sounds, it was not. I kept my resolve for 7 days. Then Kurt and I decided to buy snacks and watch a few movies on the weekend. The can of Pringles was shared by both of us for 2 evenings of movies (then I polished them off by myself Sunday morning). So considering my usual potato chip intake, this was not perfect ... but once the chips were gone, I didn't buy any more (and boy, have I been tempted!).

Week #3 - This week. I have added 20 minutes of exercise to my morning routine. I need to extend the time, but for this week I am content to just try to relearn the habit of getting up early and moving! I've succeeded 3 days in a row. I almost talked myself out of it this morning but I told myself that I could do 20 minutes. 20 minutes is easy.

I took away one more item from my diet this week. Soda pop. That should be easy. The big temptation is the pop that a person gets with a take-out meal combo. I crave pop every now and again (though it usually is hand in hand with a chip craving).

I gained all of these bad habits slowly but surely. My plan, in trying to regain some good eating habits. Gradually. One bad habit (replaced by one good habit) at a time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Unexpectedly Wonderful Day

The day had a piece of everything I love on a Sunday ...

I woke up with the birds and my day started by finding a most enjoyable and unexpected email from my uncle. I had time on my hands to indulge myself in everything I wanted to do before I had to drive Kurt to a friends house that he had made plans to get together with today.

The drop-off included a delightful visit with Kurt's friend's grandma ... with the promise to get together and go out for supper together in the near future. I am so excited!

Kurt had a fun filled day as they went tubing behind the snowmobile and enjoyed a lot of fresh air and good outdoor fun. They had offered to drive Kurt back home so I extended a supper invitation, since they were doing me the favor of not running out to get him afterwards.

I had 4 hours to myself so I called Dale and enlisted his assistance in changing a burnt out headlight on my car. I invited him out for lunch in exchange for the favor and we ended up having a deep and thoughtful conversation (and he ended up buying me lunch!).

I had talked to Wes prior to taking Kurt to his friend's house. So I felt like such a 'mom' ... touching base with my adult children and knowing that Kurt was happy. There is a very blissful feeling in feeling that little bit of connection with your children. Especially when it happens so unexpectedly on an ordinary Sunday.

I had time to buy groceries on my way home (so I won't be scrambling with that errand at the end of the day this week) and when I got home, I was greeted by another email. I love coming home to a such a gift. Mom called as I was awaiting my supper guests and we chatted until my company arrived.

Our supper turned out to be a perfect wind up to the weekend. The food hit the spot (it never hurts to feed a group of hungry guys, who have been out snowmobiling all day ... I couldn't lose!) and the company was good.

The day unfolded perfectly. Each moment of the day led to the next ... no one encounter felt rushed ... it all meshed together as perfectly as a well choreographed routine. It was my favorite kind of Sunday.

2 Mountains Down!

Okay! The second 'mountain' was conquered yesterday!! I have completed 2 of the monumental tasks that faced me. I have a few more mountains to face in the near future. But for now, I can enjoy the scenery from where I am. And climb a few 'hills' if I get restless.

A "Mountain Wings" email that I received yesterday talked of the diversities of life. How a person needs to feel one thing to appreciate the other.

"You wouldn't know cold without hot. Soft without hard. Dry without wet. Light without dark. Easy without difficult. Love without hate. Peace without war. Health without sickness. Prosperity without want. Joy without sadness."

Yes, I do appreciate the contrasts of life. Though more often than not, it is when I'm on 'easy street' that I appreciate the tough road it took to get there. Isn't that usually the way?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday Night

I've been looking for some way to recapture the magic of my holiday from 'life as I know it'.

I thought going to a movie on a Friday night would be the perfect answer. It is something that we never, ever do. Whenever we do see a movie, we always go to the early Sunday matinee and the outing blends into another ordinary Sunday. I thought we would make an event of this!

Well, so did everyone else in our city! First of all, the traffic at 6:30 at night astounded me. I am always amazed that there are so many people out and about. We normally don't travel during any of the rush hour traffic. Then, we got to the theatre. We lucked out and got (probably) the last free parking spot available within a mile and we walked toward the theatre. I couldn't believe the waves of people walking in the same direction that we were. We are fast walkers so we zoomed past several (to get a few spots closer in the line up). And what a line up!! We are unaccustomed to waiting, on our early Sunday matinee adventures. We took one look at each other and decided to leave (and we were so grateful that we hadn't paid for parking!).

Onward! We would try out the less popular movie theatre on the other side of the city. We still had a half hour to spare. Once again, the parking lot should have forewarned us. It was pretty full. But as we made our way into the mall, I remembered that most of these people would be shopping. Most ... but not all. The rest of them were lined up to go into the theatre.

I was thoroughly amazed by all of this. I thought people were cutting back on spending. I thought we were on the threshold of a very unknown financial future. I thought that the high prices of movies and snacks had diverted the crowds to watching movies in the comfort of their homes with their 'hi-tech digital/blue ray/surround sound/high definition/64 inch' TV screens (excuse my errors - I don't speak the language of hi tech very well). I thought more people went to the 'cheap theatre' (movies that have been out for quite a while - just before they go to DVD). But the line up was for the new, full-priced movies. The only reason that we go to the high priced movies, is because our Air Miles gift certificate covers our admission, 2 drinks and popcorn. Either 2 theatres full of people also have those gift certificates or else they just don't care about the cost of seeing a movie. But from all outward appearances, our economy appears to be thriving!

We were a little disappointed in our thwarted adventure. But I suggested we pick up some snacks and go back home and watch a movie. As we entered the store, Kurt wanted to check out the electronics section (he still has Christmas money to spend) and he ended up finding a DS Lite game that he has been looking for, for ages. And it was close to half the price of the last game he bought.

Kurt found a 'treasure' and in the end, we simply spent time together. Not in a movie theatre, but at home. Our cat could also relish in our family time - he just loves it when we are both in the same room. He acts intoxicated by the idea that 2 of his favorite people are sitting on the same couch and he can spread the wealth of his company equally between us (and when he is done, he nestles up snugly in between us and lavishes in the family time).

As nice as it is, to step outside your home for a mini-adventure ... the best moments of all, are family moments that are a little outside of the norm. No matter where you are.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rejection

One week ago, I was flying high because I was so excited that I was approached about my writing by 2 separate sources. Writing is something that fuels me, sustains me and entertains me. It felt like my passion for writing was drawing opportunities to me.

Then came Sunday ... the friend that had asked me for some help with putting together ideas, motto's and titles for her new business called me and told me that she came up with her own ideas and words (after I had already sacrificed 2 hours of my Saturday evening so that I wouldn't have to face that task on Sunday). Oh well. I chalked it up to experience. I was still complimented that I had come to mind when she thought of someone who could help her with some 'words'.

Then ... the dance blog. I was given free rein. No ideas what he was looking for, no censoring when I wrote and saved things so that he could decide what he wanted to post. He just posted everything and was focusing on the creative and practical side of what he wanted this blog to do for him. Then ... a few of my blog entries disappeared. I took note of which ones were deleted and got a better idea what he must have been looking for (one should never assume they know what another person is thinking). He's busy at the studio so I have let him call me. I just quietly sat by and tried to deduce what he was after by the clues he gave me.

I got up this morning and there was an email awaiting me - something from 'Blog spot', to do with the dance blog. I checked it out - only to find out that I had been deleted as an author and all of my entries were deleted. I thought to myself "So this is how rejection feels." I went about the morning doing all of my morning things. I wrote in several blogs but I let the dance blog issue simmer before I put a voice to how I felt. Amazingly okay. Numb. But okay.

As the day progressed, I reasoned everything out. Whatever reasons that he had for deleting me and my words were okay. I read the blog that he had posted and it had a very different flavor than my writing does. Then I thought of a name that I could call a dance blog if I started one up myself. I thought of how I could approach it and what I could focus on. I was not discouraged.

I carried the thought that being rejected is part of the process. It stung a little bit, because in both of my scenarios, I was accepted first. Then ... rejected as the second part of the process. I didn't think that was how it was supposed to happen, but I haven't had a lot of rejections in my life lately so I thought I must have been due.

Then I got a call this afternoon. The owner of the dance studio wanted to re invite me to author the blog. He explained the process by which he deleted me. Long story short, he was concerned about what people could find out about me and details of my life when they clicked on my profile. Then, he was trying to get certain entries on the blog to show up in a certain order, so he deleted my blogs to make that happen. He explained how it all unfolded and I was quietly relieved. I'm glad that I didn't waste my energy on putting a negative spin on what turned out to be an innocent glitch.

Our conversation ended before I could ask him exactly what he was looking for with this blog. He mentioned one of my entries that he liked ... but I don't think I'll post anything to it until I talk to him first.

It has been an interesting lesson in rejection. It's good to be brought down to earth now and again. But it is also invigorating to fly!

If I Could Do the Day Over

'The Secret' tells you to rewind the day in your mind and recreate the moments where you felt you could do better. I've been replaying yesterday in my mind and I'm not quite sure where to start.

Kids. In a word, that is where things went wrong yesterday. Okay ... now to put The Secret's spin to it, how could I have acted or reacted to make things go better?

I sit and ponder that. I know that I should always take several deep breaths before I lose my cool. Yes that's it. I should have breathed. A lot.

I didn't even lose my temper very much. Well maybe I did.

In one (of many) instances, a toy got broken. There was positively no way this toy could have been broken unless it was sheer determination to break it for the sake of breaking it. There was a 5 year old and 3, under 3 years old in the room at the time. I jumped to conclusions and I didn't out and out accuse anyone, but I looked my newest daycare arrival in the eye and told him that there is no need for toys to get broken. If that starts to happen, the toys will disappear.

I had too many kids yesterday. Thursdays are a day where I have a full house all morning, it quietens down in the afternoon and more often than not, all (except one) of my morning crowd is gone by snack time. Thursday is the day where I have a crazy amount of after school kids. Thursday is a day that 2 families have chosen to come for one day a week. Often, the ebbs and tides of the ever changing schedules even out the kid load on a Thursday and it is never as busy as I anticipate that it will be. Not this Thursday. Not by a long shot. All of the kids that were here for lunch, were here for snack. Plus a truckload of after schoolers.

Kurt was sick yesterday. He looked at me as he was leaving for school and I knew that he should be staying home. I needed him to walk the kids to school. I really, really, really needed him to pick up my kindergartners after school. I said, "Give it a try ... you may be okay when you get there." He wasn't. He was about 15 minutes into his day at school when I got a call from his teacher, telling me that he wasn't feeling well enough to stay at school. Could I pick him up or should they have someone drive him home? I can see the school from my house - I said that he should be okay to walk (but the teacher hesitated, not thinking he was able to walk the block back home). I could dress up the kids and pick him up but he'd still have to walk home. So he got a ride home with a teacher.

Most kids get a little bit of extra attention when they are sick. Not mine. Kurt's stomach was bothering him and he took up residence in the upstairs bathroom. Was I worried? Yes ... but not over Kurt. It was 15 minutes after lunch time and a time where mass-digestion usually warrants a revolving door scenario in the bathroom. Thankfully yesterday was not one of those days, but I asked him to please use the downstairs bathroom. The upstairs one is in constant use with my job. It was lunch time and he still wasn't feeling good at all. Was I concerned? Yes ... I was concerned about how I was going to retrieve the kids from school. Thankfully, he started feeling better a little while after he ate and got progressively better as the afternoon wore on. Whew!! He could pick the kids up after school, after all!

I was angry at myself for being so cold-hearted to my own child, who wasn't feeling up to par. I was berating myself for being in this situation in the first place. I shouldn't need Kurt so much! I have taken on too much.

Then, I have parents who are on maternity leave, going on maternity leave and on sick leave. Instead of breaking the ties here altogether, they are bringing or planning to bring their children one day a week or one hour a week. All this does for me is add extra stress to those days and restricts my ability to replace their lost income with a full time child. I must say something. This is something that I have allowed to happen.

The one thing that I felt good about was conquering one of 'the mountains' I wrote about yesterday morning. A long, laborious, tedious and totally boring job related to my bookkeeping was complete at last. I triumphantly handed the completed job over to her at the end of my day. And what did she tell me? That this was not even half of the job. There is at least this much, or more forthcoming. Talk about feeling deflated!!

Kurt and I had a 'date' to go shopping after everyone left. He was feeling totally back to normal by this time and we were going ahead with our shopping plans. I had a long list of things I needed. I found clearance sales in the toy aisles so I started shopping for my next round of gifts for the kids and some toys for the house to help us through this long, long winter with some new diversions. I spent more time and money than I did on my Christmas shopping. I am not exaggerating. It was crazy.

We got home in time for me to turn around and go to a dance at the dance studio. Kurt said, "Don't you think that you should just stay home?" I looked at the mountains of 'stuff' we had bought, that I had to put away. I looked at the snow that needed to be shovelled (again). I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. So I stayed home. Sometimes that is when you need to go out the most ... is when you feel like it the least. That is quite possibly true. But I stayed home and tended to my never ending snow.

I had words swimming in my head last night. The only reason that I didn't wander over to the computer and blog then, is because I knew that once I started ... I wouldn't stop. So I woke up at 5:30 this morning so that I would have time to release some of these words before my day officially begins.

If I could do yesterday over ... I think I would call in sick!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Digging Myself Out

The snow has abated for 2 days now, but I'm still dealing with 'mountains' within. Those monumental tasks that weigh heavy on my shoulders until I start dealing with them, feel higher than the mountain of snow in my front yard.

I'm plugging away at them. Slowly but surely I will get one job behind me ... then the next. I want to spend my energy doing other things!

I feel like a kid who must clean his room before he gets to go and play. I've saved my 'favorite jobs' for last.

I just put one of my 'mountains' behind me. One more mountain to go. Then I'm down to the hills ...

The only sad part is, like the snow ... you just get all the shovelling done and it snows again!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Morning Off!

Since Sunday, 20 cm of snow has fallen on our fair city. I have logged in almost 3 1/2 hours of shovelling, in that time. The mound of snow that is piling up in my front yard was officially deemed 'Mount Colleen' by me yesterday morning. All of the snow shovelling was bad enough ... but what does one do with all of the snow??

So I slept in this morning and lazed around in my PJ's until the last minute. Just because I could! Now, this is not what was supposed to happen. My internal clock woke me up around 5 am and I felt wide awake enough to get up. I could have and I should have chosen to exercise. But I didn't. I wanted a morning off!

As my feet are coming back to the ground after my 5 day holiday away from every single responsibility in my life, I am wondering how to maintain the serenity within. How can I keep nurturing myself in a way where I don't literally have to pack up and fly away?

I believe that Sundays are meant to be a day of leisure. No matter how many stores are open, no matter what there is on the eternal 'to-do' list ... a person requires one day off. One uncommitted day.

Several years of Sundays ago, I had planned to go away for the day and leave my family and responsibilities behind. I had organized my life, chores and even prepared meals ahead so that I could take this 'day'. I ended up with a stomach flu and wasn't able to go. But what I had instead, was one entire day off. All of my work was done, meals were made and the house was running itself. It was a day that energized me like few others.

In today's world, stress in the work place seems to be running rampant. People work shift-work, overtime, on-call and self-employed people never get to completely step away from their work. Stores are open 7 days a week and some are open 24 hours a day. Even when we have time off, there is no one day where the world around us slows down so we are forced to slow down. We are working more days, available to work longer hours and then squeezing in our chores, errands and tending to the never-ending list of things to do when we do have hours to call our own.

It seems that every where around you, people are touched by someone in their life who is facing life threatening health problems. It is affecting people from all walks of life and age is not always a factor. We know more and have better health care, yet many people's health is stopping them in their tracks.

I say it often and I firmly believe, that when you don't take the time that you need to replenish your body's reserves, your body will eventually stop you. We are very fortunate when the warning call is relatively minor and we are back on our feet within a short time. But everyone is not so lucky.

Give yourself a break that you can enjoy, before your body forces it upon you. Find some time that is carved out just for you and build up your reserves. You just never know when those reserves will be called upon to dig you out of 20 cm of snow!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One More Blog

Okay. This is it. This is the last blog that I am going to author. I've got it all covered now ... life, kids, family, friends and now ... dancing!

There was no way that I could say 'no' to this. The 'Dance Dynamics' blog. It is now listed under 'My Blogs' on the side of this blog. This one is not 'my' blog ... but I'm an author on it, so I can contribute to the blog entries (so all the creativity you see on the side of that blog is not my doing).

I was given the go ahead to let my fingers go wild and write what I wanted on this. My brain went numb on the weekend but yesterday morning, I lost control and as soon as lunch was over, I went crazy. It's nice to have an outlet for my dance thoughts!

It is also rather enjoyable to be around someone who seems like they enjoy the blog-world. When the owner of the dance studio approached me about this with some questions and then eventually asked for my assistance in getting it set up, I was thrilled. I went and helped to guide him through some of the options last night (though I'm sure he is more computer literate than I am, so I'll be going to him for advice soon). Not many people share my excitement with this blogging, so I was quite enthralled to be in the presence of someone who does!

It is also exciting to be given free rein to write about dancing. Combining 2 passions in one venue can only be good. I can't wait to explore the avenues that writing about dancing will open. It's going to be fun!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can I Be Sick of Snow Now??

I try not to complain. Snow is good - we need the moisture. Shovelling is okay - I need the exercise. Snow is pretty. I don't have to face the winter roads on a daily basis like those that work outside of their homes. Snow is to be expected - it is winter.

But I'm really tired of the time that shovelling snow is stealing from my day!! I've grown quite accustomed to my cozy mornings of enjoying my breakfast, a cup of coffee and quiet time before my work day commences.

It is snowing at the moment and the forecast is for snow tonight, all through night and into the morning. I can't even shovel it tonight and wake up to clean walks. There goes another morning.

I guess the up side to this, is that I know that I should be exercising. Shovelling snow forces me to move my body, breathe in fresh air and the satisfaction of finishing the job.

But I'm still sick of snow!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Over Abundance!

Okay ... abundance is nice ... but I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed by my 'riches' this weekend.

I have the feeling that I have bit off more than I can chew. So what did I do yesterday?? I spun my wheels. I tended to a few small tasks, but the 'big stuff' remained.

Today, I spent about 12 hours working with the memories I collected for my dad's family during my holiday. I have a little way to go before I can file that away until further notice (it's best to work with these words and stories while my memory is fresh). But at least I'm 12 hours closer to completion than I was this morning.

I have a menial 'bookkeeping' job that I was given before Christmas. It is tedious and without a deadline and I've already spent over 8 hours on it (and I believe there is probably at least 6 or more to go). It is one of those annoying little jobs that I must make disappear so I can clear my slate. Not to mention the other work that I would imagine is coming my way this upcoming week.

Then, I had the writing task that I was approached about on Friday. I spent about 2 hours working on that last night, emailed my ideas to her ... and I got a phone call from her today (she hadn't even read the suggestions that I had emailed to her) to basically tell me that she came up with ideas on her own. That's nice ...

I supposedly had a new babysitting family coming by to meet me this weekend but they didn't show ...

I have a new blog that I could have been playing with but I just didn't have the time or right energy waves to put into it. So that got completely tabled.

I have letters that I want to send out, to start approaching family members about collecting memories for my dad's family history book. No panic to do that right away, but I just feel that this is a good time of year to approach people about something like this. January and February are often a good time to think about such things.

I wanted to try and get together with some family and friends ... and must get myself acting on that idea.

Then, I want to immerse myself in a 'book project' that I started over 4 months ago. I've been idling away, waiting for the time and circumstances to allow me to work on that and nothing else. But the way things are going, that isn't going to happen. So I must take small steps on a regular basis, to get myself motivated on that!

Abundance is nice. But over-abundance is somewhat like overload. One step at a time and I'll find my way out from under this pile of obligations that I have bestowed upon myself!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Abundance

I woke up this morning feeling abundance in every crevice of my life. What a marvelous way to feel. What a wonderful way to face the day.

There is a material abundance. I honestly want for nothing in my life. I am not walking around craving things that I don't have. It doesn't mean that I have everything I want. It means that I have everything I need (and then some).

I stock my groceries and household supplies so that I never run out of something. I have a 'warehouse' system where I have an abundance of things I require to run my house. I have a cupboard, a fridge, a deep freeze ... a system where I know that I have fall back items in case of a sparse budget and an extra supply of things that I need. Every time I run downstairs to fetch some item that I ran out of, I say "thank you". Not everyone has the luxury of this abundance. I know that I am rich.

There is a financial abundance in my world right now. I cannot ever ever remember feeling so financially secure in my life. I am earning more than I spend. I am capable of making extra payments on my mortgage, stockpiling some savings and I've created a dream account. Any other time in my life when I started earning extra money, I spent more than I earned. I simply haven't the desire to fill any void within myself by spending money right now. I am financially satisfied with the way things are.

My car is 15 years old, my house is 44 years old, I spent my RRSP money to finance my work-from-home dream and I should have had my house paid off last year, if I had stuck to my original plan. I am cash poor, but I am rich in what I have created within the walls of my home.

As usual, I am one financial crisis away from toppling my applecart. But I feel that if I continue to budget my spending wisely, I will be okay. I respect the money I earn and I'm not wasting it. Every single time in my life where I have taken a firm stand in respecting my financial limits, I find that I am rewarded. Most recently, it came in the form of a $44.69 cheque in the mail that represented the shortfall of a large expense. The true turning point in my faith that I will be okay financially, was when I was laying in a hospital bed facing surgery which would put me out of commission for 6 weeks. I told myself "things always work out ... I will be okay" over and over. I believed. And it was. I am rich in my faith.

I have an abundance of dreams. I have been afraid to dream and my ability to dream has been thwarted in the past. I have taken giant leaps of faith on many occasions in my life. Most of those leaps have been done to create the home and security that I believe that my family deserves. But last year, I took a leap of faith that fueled a dream of mine. I wrote. And now ... writing ventures are coming to me. I have met some of them half way, others I have forged out of my comfort zone and said "I can and I want to do this" ... and yesterday, one came to me out of the blue. From a person that has read my words and believes in me. My dreams are coming true!

The people that touch and influence my life have created an abundance of appreciation and awe in all that is good. I have an amazing group of friends, a family that I appreciate beyond words and it seems that I find wonder in most every encounter.

I am fulfilled and happy as a person. My heart is full, my passions are being fueled, my home is a haven and I want for nothing. There is abundance all around me ...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Following Your Passion

"Do what you are passionate about and the money will follow"

I wrote down this quote a few weeks ago and went about my merry way with my life. It's a statement that resonated within me. It makes perfect sense. Follow your passions and only good things can come of that. If today is any indication, I would say that I'm headed in the right direction!

This afternoon, I had 2 phone calls related to my interest in writing. Not really inquiries of the money making kind (though my first call did offer to pay me for my services!), but inquiries none the less.

Writing is definitely a passion of mine. I'm following where it is leading me. Starting with my blogs, leading to putting together Mom's family history book (which has lead to 2 more family histories being collected and compiled) and today a friend asked me to help her rework some 'words' for a new business she is starting.

My head is spinning at the moment. I need to concentrate on one of several projects. Instead, my thoughts are scattered among many. My first goal is to sit down and focus my energy on one of the endeavours I've started.

I'm following my passion. I'm generating some interest. Will the money follow? Stay tuned ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Calmness Within

I am sitting in the living room, surrounded by 6 kids of varying ages. The noise level is medium/high but no one is arguing, tattling or crying so the noise is just a backdrop to the day. I have 2 kids in diapers, one with an eternal running nose, half of them have a very loud decibel 'normal indoor voice', there have been some adjustments to my daycare schedule, one family paid me a week late and ... I am calm.

I returned to my daycare load after my summer holidays and I was a grouch. I got back to my full load of kids after my surgery and I had less than zero tolerance. It took months to regain the preholiday and presurgery equilibrium in my life. Was I a little nervous about taking back my regular life full of kids after my Christmas holidays?? You betcha!

But it has been marvelous. I have more patience and tolerance within me than I've had for a very long time. The days have been going great. Kids are kids, but I'm not over the top with frustration as they go about their daily antics and pushing limits.

What is the difference?

Could it be the 5 days that I stepped away from each and every responsibility in my life?? Absolutely NO kids ... not even my own (even my adult children) and no cat to tend. No computer, no phone, no emailing and no blogging. No budgeting, no balancing my books, no concern over money what so ever (I took cash, spent cash and came home with money left over). No snow to shovel, no mail to sort, no house to tend. No strict agenda to my days beyond waking up, dressing, eating a few meals and collecting memories. Memories of my dad's family that are fueling a great amount of excitement within me. Adult-only time. Time with my mom, my uncle, my cousin and their extended adult and pet families. No kids.

Picking up and flying off into the sunrise was an adventure and therapy for my soul. It was hard and a little bit scary to step so completely away from each and every responsibility in my life. But it has fueled something within me that hasn't been full for a very long time.

There is a calmness within my very being. And the people around me are reaping the rewards as my reactions to 'life as I know it' are going with the flow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Life's Distractions

I sat down with a thought and started writing a few hours ago. Then the phone rang and I lost the flow of where I thought that thought may take me.

So it is with life. You start out with an idea of where you think you are headed and you meet up with a distraction, a challenge, a new idea or a fork in the road.

When I think of all the choices that I made to get from 'there' to 'here', I'm grateful for every turn that my road has taken. I feel like I'm on the path that I was meant to live.

I started thinking about the 'roads not taken' when my uncle mentioned an opportunity that my dad had, to work out east back in the 1950's. It would be so interesting to hear what my dad would have to say about his choices back then but he is not around to tell us his story. One can only hope that he felt that he was following his chosen path. That he wasn't living his life against the current, but going with the flow of where he was meant to be ...

The quote from Oprah's 'Best Life' series that spoke to me today was: "Any time you are resisting what "is" (instead of what you thought it was going to be), you have more stress in your life because you won't accept what "is". I equate that resistance with 'going against the flow' of life. When I feel like I am walking against the current in life, it is like I'm resisting life's natural course of events. I never did like to cause waves. Life is not only simpler that way, but I think it was the path that I was meant to follow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Revving Up

I don't formally make new years resolutions, but I do try to make personal goals as the year goes on.

As I sit here in a rather lack lustre mood as the new year begins, I'm giving myself a little time before I forge into the year full speed ahead. I'm revving my engines as I sit.

Oprah is starting her 'Best Life' series once again and I'm determined to incorporate some tidbits of the wisdom from that series into my life.

Number 1, is that I know that I need to get moving again. I exercised for several years and it made me feel good from the inside out. Exhaustion took over my life for a while, then procrastination set in. My final excuse of 2008 was that I just didn't have time in my days. Well, the Christmas season of preparations and gifting is over ... I think I should be able to spare an hour in my days.

Secondly, I have to get into high gear with some 'book projects' that I have started. I have massive amounts of information to organize with my first project. And I've just begun my second project. Step one is to try and figure out how to format my pages in the 'Word' program once again! I tried and failed when I first started this project and it is time to conquer that mountain so I can go onto another phase in organizing this information.

Then, I have some gatherings that I want to orchestrate. I have several different groupings of friends and family that have gotten together in the past and I think a post-Christmas-season gathering would be enjoyable. It's time to dust off my dialing finger and start to make some calls to initiate this.

I kicked into high gear on Mom's family history project a little bit later in January, last year. I think that I have that in the back of my mind. A week or 2 to idle and formulate a plan ... then I'll shift into first gear and start moving forward. Even as I write this, I know that I'll get moving sooner than that. I'm using my first 'back to work week' as my immediate excuse to sit idly by. But my brain waves are moving faster and the exhaustion levels are waning.

I can feel myself revving up for action within this (as yet) unmoving body. If I look at the long range goal, I feel a tad overwhelmed. But if I look at just making those first moves, it is a little exciting. I am somewhat afraid that I have bitten off more than I can chew. But if I take it one step at a time, I think the goals are within reach.

If I can accomplish goal #1 (to start exercising again), I think those early morning sessions of moving my body will send off the positive endorphins to put some of my other plans into action.

My motor is revving ....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to My Regular Life

I get swept up in holiday mode and I have become very, very good at doing nothing! It's a good thing that necessity requires that I get back to work because I could sure become accustomed to the laid back pace of holiday time.

What is it about time ... if you have too much of it, you accomplish less than if you are racing against the clock? I moved at holiday speed throughout my vacation time. I got up around the same time, but moved slower. I had less pressure to get things done, so I did the minimum required to get through my day. I had entire days without a defined schedule, and I wasted them.

I normally get my house 'day-care-ready' the day before I return from holidays. Yesterday I thought "Why waste my time and energy ... I'll do it when it has to be done ... and it will still get done in the end." I puttered around this morning, putting my house back in kid-mode. And it didn't take all that long (and I got to laze around an extra hour yesterday).

I was in absolutely no hurry to pack away our Christmas lights/decorations this year. I felt cheated out of 5 days of my Christmas lights (since I went away for 5 days), so I kept the lights on and decorations up. Until this morning. Back to kids, back to work meant back to my regular (unadorned and unlit) life. It was time. I'm glad I didn't rush the process though. I thoroughly enjoyed the lights of the Christmas season.

I'm not leaping for joy, to have my holidays behind me. Nor am I waking up dreading the day and responsibilities ahead. I guess that is good. I'm glad that I have the job that I do. I can ease back out of holiday mode and still enjoy the comfort of my home and a pretty good routine that we all fall back into after a break from our regular life.

Be it ever so humble ... this is a very good life.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Horizons

The view from a plane gives one a different perspective on the bustling life below ...

I couldn't stop being amazed by the view from above. I was amazed with this new vantage point. In the clouds, above the clouds, looking down from a clear sky to the manicured life that man has created and the natural landscape of the Great Lakes and treed areas.

In the daylight, you could see the natural wonders. In the darkness, you could see the man made wonders. The city lights, the surrounding urban areas brightly lit, with street lights marking the way. The country lights, more solitary but never alone. There was always another light in the vicinity. We are never alone no matter where we live.

As you gaze into the horizon, what do you see? The pathes you've travelled? The roads yet untaken?

Mom mentioned a sculpture that she had seen when she was on an Eastern Canada holiday years ago. It was called 'A Room at the Top'. The theme of this art was that we spend our lives striving to get to the top. Working hard, looking ahead, achieving goals. And when you finally get there, where are you? You are alone in this 'room at the top'. Your life wasn't about achieving goals, it was about the journey along the way.

I like to think of this plane ride as a glimpse of the view from that room at the top. I'm not there. I hope I never achieve the lonely place 'at the top'. I want my dreams to be endless, my goals to change along the way. I want to have a vision of where I want my life to lead, but I don't want to lose the art of living along the way. It is all about the memories along the journey.

I know that I need to have dreams to feel alive. When I stop dreaming forever, I would like to feel like I was enjoying the view from that 'room at the top' and looking back on my life, the detours along the way, the people who impacted my life and to know that I enjoyed the trip.

The sunrise (taken from the plane) on the first leg of my vacation. A new day, new hope, a wonder to behold.


Another in-flight view of the sunset as were homeward bound. The sun set on that day, but a new one was on the horizon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In The Afterglow

It is January 3rd and I'm still sitting in the darkness with only the Christmas lights illuminating my morning. I love the lights. I have had a most wonderful season of joy.

It was just over a year ago that I started my blogging adventure. December 29th marked my first blog entry in MySpace. January 8th, I started my 'Life as I Know It' blog and transferred the MySpace entries over to this new blog. 299 blog entries for the year 2008. Not quite one a day, but not too bad.

Most of my thoughts, hopes and dreams for the year are written down in this blog. There are many veiled references in my entries that I am the only one who truly knows 'the rest of the story'. I can look at an entry and know what triggered the outpouring of words.

I can look back on this year and reflect on the mountains I have climbed, the specialness of an ordinary day, reflections of an event or nonevent.

I am not only sitting and savoring the afterglow of the Christmas season this morning. I am feeling the joy of looking back on the reflection of 'a year well spent'. And as we tread into this new year of 2009, I wonder what I may be reflecting on a year from now. Whether looking back on the wonder of it all ... obstacles that have been overcome ... a heart that aches over a loss ... or just a hum drum kind of year ... it is always nice to have something to reflect back on and see how far you've come.

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's Not My Time To Go!

When I wrote the entry "It's Been a Charmed Year" the day before my big holiday adventure, I was spooked.

I was flying off, leaving my family and home behind and placing my life in the hands of others. I felt that things were out of my control and it was scary. I was feeling so happy and my life felt so great that if my world was to stop ... it would have ended perfectly. My 'story' was a good one.

As I felt my concerns wane, I knew that I had only wrapped up another chapter of my life. I was ready and eager to start living the next one. There was far too much ahead of me to think that my 'book' had ended. I was safe and secure in my faith that all that was good and my story would continue.

Then ... last night as I unfolded the hide a bed so that we could stretch out and comfortably watch a movie, I was embarrassed to find crumbs, food and dirt everywhere. And that was just one small area of my house. My housekeeping has been put on a back burner and I'm sure that there is dust and dirt in every nook and cranny of my home.

It was then that I knew it for a fact. It is not my time to go ... my work here on earth is not complete. I need to clean my house first!!!

Where Do I Begin?

I ended the old year, the way I brought in the new one. Out of my comfort zone and on a quest to collect more family memories ...

Mom and I went on an 'adventure' together, as I started the process of collecting my dad's family's stories. I travelled once on my own, about 23 years ago. A direct flight to Vancouver and minimal exposure to the ways of air travel. This time, I was on 5 different flights, met up with Mom and saw her off at 'her' airport, went through security on 4 different occasions and one transfer on the last leg of my journey. Hey, by the end of it all ... I was acting like the other passengers when the flight attendants went through the emergency procedures before every take-off (like I'd heard it all before). The first time through, I was the only person actually studying the guide that they place in the pocket of the seat in front of you. I feel like a veteran traveller now. If I was without dependents and with money, I could get used to the idea of flying off on solo adventures!

These are the words that I scrawled near the end of my first flight:

Dec 27/08 8:50 am

We barely ascended into the air when we began our descent! I had to have a cup of coffee ... just because I could! I feel as wide eyed a s a little kid - just taking in the whole flying experience. Alone.

This feeling has been very akin to my surgery "holiday" when I entrusted everything in my life to others ...

My family stepped in and took care of things so I could go on this solo vacation. Dale is taking care of Kurt for the duration. And Wes (arranged) for me to be driven to the airport. As I went through my mini anxiety attack, they assured me that I was worrying over nothing.

As I stepped into the airport today, found my way through security and was awaiting my departure, I felt all the worries seep out of my being. I was in the hands of the professionals now. They guided me through each step that I must do and they took care of the rest. It's out of my hands now. I cannot prepare for this any more. All arrangements have been made. My boys are taking care of everything on the home front. All that I have to do now, is sit back and enjoy the ride.

8:55 ... we are beginning our descent into Edmonton ...

And so my adventure began. I had many thoughts that I should have journaled as I went through the days. But the one prominent thought I had as I began this scary voyage, was that I entrusted my safety and fate to the powers that be. It felt very liberating to let go of all my day to day worries and just enjoy the 'ride' that was my holiday.

"Let go and let God" is an Alanon saying that I still hold close in my thoughts. When the world feels like a scary place and your worries feel overwhelming ... it is comforting to feel that there is a force stronger than yourself that is safely guiding your way. Just as my pilots safely navigated my way throughout my small adventure.