Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wow, last day of January already (I'm in KC this weekend)!
This month's theme has been CHANGE.
1. Eye surgery- I now can see almost perfect 20/20. However, I now have to get use to reading glasses. My brain feels like it is getting re-wired and I'm a little frustrated, but I'm sure before too long I will adjust to this new way of seeing. I love driving the car now! I can see so much that I was missing before!
2. Empty Nest- trying to get use to not having a cat in the house after 15.5 years. I sure do miss Missy's loud purring. She was so comforting at night.
3. New President- I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this. I now need to remove my ear plugs (which have been in place for 8 years) and become interested again on listening to how our country will be lead. With Obama's 80% approval rating coming into office, there is great anticipation and hope for change.
4. Selling Des Moines house- we've made the decision to try to sell our house and reverse our current living arrangements to let Greg take care of a house in Kansas City and I will have a small apartment in Des Moines. This will be a huge change for me but I know I will adjust.... its just thinking about all that will needs to happen to make this possible.... it blows my mind! I will need to surrender the details and place myself in God's hands.
So, as for the new month of February, I will make the theme be
"cleaning out and letting go"!
I normally don't get in the mood to do spring house cleaning until March, but I need to kick it into high gear this month and see if I can make some good progress. I've been trying to simplify and downsize for the last few years, but never seem to get very far. Now I will be forced into it.
I'm looking forward to perhaps this being an enlightening cleansing experience! ??.... well it could happen!
Friday, January 30, 2009
Why am I blogging?
I’m still trying to figure out why I decided to join into the blog adventure. Well, it does have my creative juices flowing again… but it’s more than that.
I’m usually pretty open with my friends, I don’t hold back too much….. but often I think about the funeral of a church friend who died unexpectedly in her mid 50’s the summer of 2007.
I knew Lois at least seven years through church activities. I loved her smile most of all. She was in the choir and she seemed to laugh a lot and was known for her delicious desserts. It was fun being around her and her husband since they usually seemed light hearted when in a group … they enjoyed poking fun at each other and I guess after 30 years together it still seemed like they were best friends.
Thinking about Lois now, I am sorry that I never had the opportunity to know her at a deeper level…. But her best friend from Ottumwa did. This long time neighbor friend had a deep connection and was able to share that with the rest of us at Lois’s funeral and I’ll always be grateful. It brought much comfort to me.
This had me thinking, would someone be able to talk in depth about me? Could I talk in depth about any of my friends at their funeral?
I think most people have a need to be Loved (number one) and maybe second, the need to be understood and accepted. Unfortunately, everyday life doesn’t allow us to get at that deeper level with ourselves, let alone with our friends. It’s so easy to be distracted. There is too much noise in your lives……
I’m blessed to have discovered over the years some tools which bring PEACE to my life, but I often don’t use them like I should. I think blogging has become one of those tools…… and I should keep doing this for a while longer..... even when I don't feel like it.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Greg and I started a new movie tradition over the last several years. Besides watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” during the holiday season, I’ve drawn him into watching the movie “White Christmas”. I usually enjoy watching this movie just after Thanksgiving.
I’m not sure why I get a kick out of this movie so much. The first thing that drew me in was that I find Danny Kaye to be wonderfully silly, and I love the dance scenes. Also the song “Sisters” is in the movie and one of the sisters in the movie is named "Judy". My sister and I tapped danced to this song during a recital when we where around age 8 and 9. I tried to dig out a picture of that.... I know I have it somewhere, but instead this picture will have to do for now. Anyway, Greg and I for some reason got attached to another song in the movie…. called “Snow”…. I’m always trying to get him to sing that song and harmonize with me, even though I can’t carry a tune. This song has some silly words too.
This year we finally broke down and bought ourselves a copy of the movie so we don’t have to watch all the commercials. We watched this with my side of the family (my sister's family) this year on Christmas day and I found myself humming another song for several weeks afterwards. This song is called “Count Your Blessing Instead of Sheep”. Bing Crosby’s voice is very soothing to me.
Even now a month after Christmas and after successful eye surgery…. I’m still humming that song! AND I especially feel blessed to have a wonderful husband who took such good care of me during my recuperation.
"Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep"
When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessing instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings.
When my bankroll is gettin' small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings.
So if you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today, I will plan nothing!
I will just sit, listen, and wait for the spirit to move me.
I will sit, listen, and wait to be led into action,
But perhaps that is precisely what I need!
- Judy Sebern Beachy (1999)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Alone in the middle of the night
Lying here in the dark,
The bed is cold.
I am afraid!
I need you-
I take a breath to find you, within.
I need your presence
I take a breath to find you, within.
I need your comfort,
I take a breath to find you, within.
I need your assurance,
I take a breath to find you, within.
I need your love,
I take a breath to find you, within.
I need your peace,
I take a breath to find you, within.
I take a breath …….
and I find you here, within.
-Judy Sebern Beachy July 2008
Monday, January 26, 2009
I’ll just start with the facts:
After having extremely poor vision most of my life, technology has advanced enough to help someone like me. Basically without my glasses, objects have to be within 4 inches of my face for me to see them clearly. My eye doctor (Dr. S.E. Husain at Iowa Methodist) …. says I’m legally blind times FOUR! My correction is a minus 13. 20/1000 instead of 20/20.
About 5 years ago, I had a consult at Wolfe Clinic to see if I would be a candidate for some type of laser correction. That technology had been around awhile and many people were getting good results. Well, it turned out my vision was too extremely poor and the laser surgery would not be able to be used on me. That doctor at that time said to be patient and wait since new technology is always pushing forward.
So now 2009, the timing was right for me to try something new for extreme poor vision such as mine…. But the surgery is actually very common and has been done for many years on millions of people: cataract surgery........ (the replacement of the lens with a new lens). Thus instead of wearing glasses or contact lenses for the correction I need, I have a new lens in my eye ball. Or I should say my eye football. That is my problem, the shape of my eyes are more football like and thus pictures don’t focus on my retina.
Since I don’t have cataracts (clouding of the lens due to old age), they just call this surgery on me “lens replacement surgery”. It might seem like an extreme thing to do, but why not do it now when I’m young and healthy versus wait until I’m 70 and have fully developed cataracts. Well, it does cost a lot of money out of my pocket, since insurance won’t cover the surgery if there is no cataract, but Greg and I felt it was a good investment in the future. There is really a safety issue if I was ever put in a situation where my glasses got knocked off my face, I’m helpless. So the choice between putting money into a losing Roth IRA or into my future healthy eye sight seemed like a no-brain-er.
January 19th I had my left eye surgery and so far the results are better than expected. I can see 20/30 to 20/20. There will be some adjustment period before the eye fully heals and stabilizes. The doctor felt like everything looked good enough to proceed with the right eye on January 26th. It’s been a struggle this week living with eyes that are totally out of balance. Most of my time has been spent on the couch with my eyes closed resting and listening to TV or radio.
Now, I’m typing this on the weekend, with one eye covered so I can see the computer screen. Greg and I have been playing with my old glasses to create a fun eye patch as you can see on the right side panel of pictures. I will post this on Monday so everyone will be up to speed on what is happening. So think of me today was you read this, as I will be undergoing my second surgery.
My blog postings will continue this week, also as they did last week, because I was proactive and I scheduled postings done in advance of my absence.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
This was our other cat Buster. He liked to be called Boo-tar the Warrior Cat when he was in a certain mood. Other times we just called him Butter or Butter B. B= baby
For those of you who have never seen this web site of funny cat pictures, check it out. http://www.lolcats.com/
Friday, January 23, 2009
Beautiful morning here..... sunny with a cool breeze that feels like it's coming off a Minnesota lake. Missy ate some food and I put her out on the back door patio, so I think she is feeling better.
I decide to walk up to Grounds of Celebration (local coffee shop) to get a Chai Tea, mostly to take a short morning walk. Although I could have picked a quieter street to walk on, I just went up Beaver Avenue. There was a lot of traffic that time of the morning, people going to work,…. But I kept my focus on the gardens and flowers along the way, and the traffic just became background noise I could ignore. That reminded me- in life it is important to be aware of what you focus on, since this makes all the difference in what you will experience in life.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I can now relate to my sister and friends who have watched all their child head off to college, leaving them with an empty and lonely house. There are mixed emotions for sure.
Of course Greg and I miss her very much, but more important is the feeling of love that we have for her….. ALWAYS.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”
- Anatole France
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This week I was reading a new blog by a friend's daughter who is writing about her life, newly engaged, and in the planning stages of her wedding. A fun topic to blog about for sure. However, she wrote something that was all too familiar and dangerous....... multitasking...... Yes, I do believe that multitasking is dangerous.... and I'm guilty of it as well, but I'm trying hard to break myself of the habit.
I have a vivid memory about 10 years ago when I first became aware that I was practicing multitasking. I was working on Christmas letters, baking cookies, doing laundry, as well as watching TV. I actually felt proud of my ability to juggle so much at one time. There is nothing like multitasking to make you feel productive!
However, the feeling of productivity over the years has now turned to the feeling of unfulfillment. By living a life at a frantic pace, unfocused and easily distracted, I often wonder at the end of the day..... what have I accomplish? - Time seems to fly by and I can't remember much of what I did during the day since I have not "been in the moment" at all during the day.
So Dearest Shelby..... you are still young, maybe your brain will be wired differently than my generation's. You may be able to handle a multitasking life since you have been exposed to more technologies and distractions...... But please be aware of this, and if you find yourself stressing out...... be aware and look to see if you are splitting yourself in two, or three, or four or more tasks at once! Try to step back and find some focus...... close your eyes and become aware of your breathing.... this is a good place to start.
And...... I'll try to take my own advice as well!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Did you break the code from yesterday's posting?
13 15 18 5 20 18 5 5 19 27 12 5 19 19 2 21 19 8 30 31
More trees, less Bush! :)
I saw this on a car bumper sticker several years ago and got a big chuckle out of this. Today a new President is inaugurated. I don’t care if he is black, white, blue, red or any color of the rainbow….. I’m hoping our new President will be more 20 18 5 5 like.
20 18 5 5 19 are one of my favorite things in all of God’s creation! They have a strong beauty with or without leaves; they protect, are stable with deep roots, provide us with oxygen, shade, building materials, hold the soil in place, and are great fun to climb up.
OK yes I am a long time 20 18 5 5 8 21 7 7 5 18
Planting trees is all about HOPE. You start with a small twig, and hope it will grow strong and tall for the next generation to enjoy its benefits.
On 11-4-2008 Hope won out over fear.......and Hope is alive today!
God Bless America! God Bless Trees!
Monday, January 19, 2009
A friend just upgraded to a new MAC for Christmas ....(Not a “Big Mac” hamburger but a “MAC” computer), and she is diligently working on learning how to use her new “toy”. She is even taking some MAC classes. I'm wondering when was that line drawn in the sands of time, in which computers crossed over from being just a new fun technology toy, to being something so main stream in our lives that it is hard to function without? And as the toys keep evolving, there is a real struggle to keep up, especially for those over age 50!
Sure my Mom and Dad in their 80’s told us they were not interested in getting a computer, and they seem to do just fine without one. Dad is still wonderful about sending people creative cards he makes and Mom writing letters, and I admit it is great getting that “old fashion” letter in the mail box outside the front door! But for most of us average working people, computers, cell phones, iPods are just standard equipment now a days. The young kids keep pushing us old folks to keep up. I know I’m out dated now, since my cell phone is basic and does not text and does not take pictures. But I’m OK with that for now. ……...... Boy, Am I starting to sound like Andy Rooney about now? I can even hear his voice in my brain!..... why is that?
Anyway, my friend with the new MAC asked me what a BLOG was, when I told her I was thinking of starting one. To tell you the truth I didn’t really know, just an online diary I speculated. So I did some research: Blog comes from the word Web Log. It's kind of like "we blog". I wonder why it wasn’t E-log for electronic log? Or iLog….. “I” as in self….. since blogs seem a bit self important, self indulgent to me. I guess Steve Jobs would have had to invent the iLog.
Then I wonder, should a person worry about putting thoughts out into the public? What if giant Home Land Security (HLS) Computers are scanning blogs for suspicious words written by terrorist?….. you know like the word..…. Well I guess I’m afraid to write any of those words, just in case. I’m sure I’m already on a HLS watch list since I attended several peace rallies in 2003. I hope they didn’t mind me writing about George Bush a few days ago…… well just in case maybe I need a coding system. (oh I hope HLS isn’t scanning for that word!)
Let’s just do a simple code, since it may fool the smartest computer scanning devices, as often simple things do: There are 26 letters in the alphabet.
A=1 B= 2.... J=10.... Z=26…. And so on…. You get the picture…. After all you’re learning the MAC computer now! Also (,) = 27 (.)=28 and (?)= 29 and (!)=30… and the smiley face will =31.
Here is my secret message to you:
13 15 18 5 20 18 5 5 19 27 12 5 19 19 2 21 19 8 30 31
Answer to be revealed in the next posting….. tomorrow.
PS: it’s fine to count on your fingers…...............I did :)
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I wasn't going to post today, but I feel the need to get some emotions out of my brain. I started the grieving process today; it's as if a dear family member has been taken to hospice and has been given 6 to 9 months before time runs out. There is the process of "getting things in order": there are people that need to be told of the news..... there are sharing of memories that will be done, and major cleaning!....... then there is the letting go.....
OK, I know I'm probably letting myself get carried away in the drama. But it is one of those days where my emotions are at the top of the glass and easily spilling over, like the tears that well up in my eyes from time to time today ............. I know I'll be fine..... but (heavy sigh)
What is causing this you ask?
Yesterday was the start of goodbye to Allison Avenue.
We met with our Des Moines real estate gal and I could no longer be in denial that we will sell our house in Des Moines. Yesterday also happened to be the evening of our Allison Avenue "Fight the Winter Blues" Progressive Party on the street. It has been planned for over a month. So with many neighbors gathered at once, we started telling people of our plans. Some of course have been in the loop, others were hearing the new for the first time.
We are so blessed to have lived on this street of wonderful people, who many have become our good friends. I know I won't be leaving Des Moines completely since I will now get to have an apartment here, and Greg will have the responsibility of taking care of the house in Kansas City.... And that is going to work out very well I'm sure. I'm just struggling and grieving a bit knowing this chapter of the book is ending, even as I look forward to writing the next new chapter......
Please tune in tomorrow at this same "bat station"!
PS: Check out this new Blog I discovered by looking at the right side here under my My blog List.
You can click on this link to view the blog "synch-ro-ni-zing"
Awesome pictures! Scroll down some!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
This dream I had a few nights ago where I was in this rearranged room in our house, then all of a sudden people where in this room with me. It is strange that I even remembered this part since it was just a short snippet out of the larger dream. But I woke shortly after with a full bladder and thus the image was still there lingering in my mind as I was off to the bathroom.
I dreamt about George Bush. Not President George Bush…… just George Bush the regular guy. He was in this room with me, the room Greg had rearranged (see yesterday’s blog posting), and the two of us, George Bush and I, were just sitting there together. He had on a cowboy type shirt and jeans. I remember he was rolling up the shelves to his shirt, like he was getting comfortable and going to relax. He had a smile on his face. I had a smile on my face and I found him to be a pleasant enough guy. I don’t remember the words that were exchanged between us. Nothing deep it would seem, just some chitchat about the weather no doubt.
When I woke up and starting thinking about my encounter, I realized this was huge. I felt a healing process was starting to happened within me and maybe healing within George Bush as well. There we were together now (after being worlds apart on nearly everything) sharing a similar space, sitting in that room looking at each other ….. sitting in that rearranged room……sitting in a room of change!
Friday, January 16, 2009
I had a dream two nights ago that seemed like it was trying to show me something important. I walked into a room in our house, although it wasn’t our current house. Often when I have a “house” dream it is something more similar to the house I first grew up in located in Charles City. This house #1 was where the first 12 years of my life occurred. This room was located in that house in my dream, although in reality that room didn’t exist when I lived there. This room looked to be like a den that had a handsome desk, some chairs, book shelves and big window that looked out into the backyard. I could see my mom’s garden full of day lilies.
When I walked into this room, I was surprised and annoyed at Greg to see that he had rearranged the furniture! What was he thinking? I didn’t understand why he had done this right before we were expecting people to come over, but there was nothing I could do about it at that time. I was upset for minute, then I let it go, knowing I could always change it back later. Being in the room felt very strange, yet I realized quickly in my dream that this new arrangement wasn’t really hurting anything- It was just different. Not better, not worse…. just different. Then the company started to arrive…… (see blog posting tomorrow).
I’ve heard before, in dream analysis, that “house” represents you, yourself, your being. So I believe my dream is trying to work me through the changes that are slowly taking place as to where Greg and I will be living in the future. Things maybe rearranged a bit this coming year, things will look different, but I think my dream is showing me that I can adapt.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I come from a small family. I have one sister, my mother is an only child, and my father had one sister from which I have two cousins. Even Greg’s immediate family is small. Greg enjoys saying that he came about by the union of a Hillbilly women from West Virginia and an Amish man from Ohio .............(That’s a whole other story)… and although Greg’s father was number seven out of fourteen Amish children, Greg has only one brother. Greg and I together have two nephews, and one niece.
Early on, an important lesson I learned from my parents is that good friends can become your family. I feel so blessed to have a Big Family of Friends which spreads across many parts of this country! With this in mind, I created a special “poem” for all of you!
My Friends are like the dark rich soil of Iowa,
A fertile place where I can put my roots down deep,
My Friends give me stability and provide me with the loving
nutrients to grow strong,
So when the winds of change come and blow me around,
I’m able to bend instead of break.
It looks like many changes will be headed my way this year with probable move of house to Kansas City..... and setting up an apartment in Des Moines. Oh yes, and Eye Surgery this month! (more on that later......)
Love and Gratitude to all my Friends!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
When I woke up today in Des Moines the thermometer said minus 2.6 degrees! Only a few short days ago, during my Kansas City visit, I enjoyed temperatures that ranged from the 30's up to 60's! There were actually two days it was 65 and I felt spring in the air. It was ever so lovely!
So for those of you who aren't so lucky to have a break yet from THIS Winter, let's just celebrate it with a poem I wrote back in 1997. It also must have been a snowy one that year.
(PS: those KC people are really wimps..... the weather guy on TV was freaking out over 20 degree temperatures! )
(PPS: to quote my neighbor Steve who is blowing my driveway clear for me the last two years... "there isn't bad weather, just bad clothing"................... I guess this proves you just gotta know how to dress for winter!)
New snow, cotton candy delight,
Sweet fluffy dessert, accompanying
Winter's bitter cold entrée.
Captive guests, plates already full,
Long to be pulled away from the table,
But held hostage, force fed till Spring.
The heavenly chef, his mouth spitting sleet,
Shouts- "Bring the next course,
This season's not yet complete!"
The waiter enters with an arctic cuisine,
A frostbitten wind,
Which bites like icicle teeth.
Next with a sprinkle of condiment snow,
An intoxicating blizzard
Is served to us all.
Finally our host, rising up on his feet,
Lifts his glass to toast- "Bon Appetite!"
This is January dining of this year's winter feast.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Sitting fire side last night, Greg and I both reading..... oh it felt good to relax. I turned away from reading for awhile and just looked into the flames and tried to savor the moment. My mission was to purposely not think, and not to start with the reflecting and examination of life. No pondering of what might lie ahead this coming year.
After reading the book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle back in February 2008, I have learned about the wonderful peace of nothingness. I have experienced the blessings which come from striving to stop the intense conversation in my mind. I guess like most things in life, a balance is needed: some reflection and inquiry on the thoughts in my head, and at other times the need to dismiss all the noise my mind produces.
My favorite quote from “A New Earth” page 236…. “Be Still. Look. Listen. Be present.”…. This comes easy as one breaths deeply while watching the dancing flames of a fire. Even Greg eventually put his book down, turned off the lights and silently, hand in hand, we sat enjoying the timeless moment together- mesmerized.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I'll warn you now..... I don't think I can post on a daily basis!
So check out the side panel to the right for two of my friends blogs, just to give you an idea of what a daily blog can be….. "Believe" and "My View from the Mountain"
I remember 10 years ago (pre-blog days) when I was into writing, mostly in a journal or writing for my “Storytelling Art” projects … But suddenly it seemed, when I turned 50, there was a shift in me. Surprisingly the “practical” side of me reappeared. I turned a corner. I’m not sure if I chose this turn or if it was just a natural step. At that time my energy, which got stronger, was refocused back on the business of the day, more interest in world events and politics and more energy towards my research work at the University. After a 5 year period of choosing to work only 80% so I could focus on healing, spirituality, creativity and my art, at age 50, I then chose to go back to work full time earning money.
I still am working on my art, but seemed to accept that it would be “hobby” status for the time being. This surprised me in a way, since just a few years prior, I was envisioning and longing for an early retirement so I could put my focus on my art and creatively. But at that time, when turning 50, it did feel right to take a temporary step back from my creative side, knowing and hoping it would still be there in the future.
Now seeing my friends being creative and sharing their lives through blogging , I find myself wondering if I have somehow been avoiding my feelings by that step away from my intense creative period I had in my 40’s. I also am wondering if this is the time to tippy- toe back in…. back into myself… back into the side of me that is willing to be open, vulnerable and brave enough to examine my feelings, and examine life itself.
Maybe NOW I can start to take time to write again….. not to be creative or inspiring to others, especially during a time which I don’t feel that way, but to take time to reflect on life, to live more consciously, be in the moment, and appreciate this season of life. It appears many changes will be headed my way in 2009 and I may need this to be my therapy.
Thanks Lori and Renee for sharing your creative side with me and giving me inspiration daily with your blogs.
I’m struggling to understand, yet intrigued, by this whole blogging phenomenon. I understand the value and have even participated in journaling from time to time over the years. I benefited from this practice in my 20’s as I struggled to understand myself and searched for some direction in my life. Yet, this journaling was a private, emotional, and very spontaneous writing, never worrying about spelling, grammar and punctuation, since it was only for my eyes.
However, public journaling, which I consider blogging to be, seems more like a chore to write a term paper or essays for English creative writing class. Well, thanks to spell check, I can’t really use my poor spelling skills as an excuse, and my poor penmanship is now also a moot point…… But consider yourself warned; will have to put up with my grammar and vocabulary problems.
My next hurdle to overcome is wondering WHO would be interested in my blog? Is blogging still mostly a journaling discipline done for SELF ……and IF a few friends might just happen to want to join in my random thoughts, the more the merrier?
I must admit that this is what has happened to me recently when two co-worker friends started blogging and were kind enough to send me their blog links. Reading their daily posts has quickly become a morning ritual as I sit down to start my work day.
I believe I would not find blogs written by strangers to be of much interest to me personally, and really the appeal in friends’ blogs has been to feel more deeply connected to them and their families.
I have found that reading my friends’ blogs is like reading a post script to one of your favorite novels. One of those really good books where you have fallen in love with the characters so much that you were in mourning when the story came to an end…. AND you long for the chance to spend more time inside their world.
Now, the interesting novel being read could be MY LIFE and the favorite characters of this story are MY friends and family. In fact there are many people in my life I would love to read their blogs if they had one: My sister, my niece, my nephew, Molly, Steve and Vanni in Alaska, Amy and Julia in Ohio, my Allison Avenue gals, cousin in Oregon and LuAnn in Texas, Sam & Susan in Iowa City, Kelley, Sue L., even my husband.….. just to name a few.
My Aunt Joanne would have been great at blogging about our family history, since she had tales of my father and their life going up in Cedar Rapids Iowa in the 20’s and 30’s and she was good at storytelling. Sadly she is gone now.
With that in mind, to all my FRIENDS- I urge you to give blogging a try, if not for me, do it for YOUR families. Don’t you think it would be fascinating to find an old journal or old letters of your parents or grandparents in which they shared their perspective on their daily lives? I have a love of history, so this sounds appealing to me! After all, we really are living in some interesting times it would seem! Here is our chance to contribute to recorded history.
NOTE: you can get a FREE blog started at http://www.blogspot.com/