Monday, June 29, 2009

New Again

New week.
New day.
New beginning.
New hope.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two Beautiful Daughters

This one's a little touche for me right now:
"Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are anger and courage. Anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain as they are."- St Augustine

~via Waving or Drowning?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Six Words, Six Words, Six Words

Accepting reality takes lots of grace.

~ Show My Face.

Friday, June 26, 2009


There is a lovely rain drizzling down as I type.
Days like this feel suited to curling up on the couch and reading a good book.
But there is a counter full of dishes that need to be washed.
And floors to be scrubbed.
The house has taken a nose dive
since I started work 3 months ago.
Not enough energy to keep it up.
I'm hoping that over the summer I can clean out the clutter
and get it in decent enough shape that
I can get someone to come in once a week
to clean the bathroom and scrub the floors
and do the vacuuming once I go back to work.
Just typing that feels like luxury.
We'll see what transpires.

Yesterday I was able to get my remaining medical tests booked as well as the follow up appointment with the cardiologist. Just waiting to hear back from the geneticist for an appointment and then I am all set. I will be so glad when this is behind me.

What I keep in mind though, is that this day
is begging to be lived in.
And with God's help I plan to do just that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I am counting down the days until I am off work for the summer.
It will be so nice to get up and not have to get in my car and go anywhere unless I want to.
I am headed on a road trip to see family and back to big city far away for more medical tests. I found out today that there will be more a few months after that yet. So my prediction of it being November before I find out if they will do surgery to fix the hole in my heart is about accurate.

I could write now about what has been weighing heavy on my heart. The people who needed not to find out through my blog know by first hand telling now. And I am grateful that I don't feel any need to hash it out here. It's made me reevaluate what I blog about and why.

What I do know is that I have a strength I didn't know I had.
I have encountered all manner of gifts during this pain filled time.
Yesterday my therapist walked me through writing out a crisis mode list of beliefs, feelings and behaviours. Then she took the core hurt from that list and showed me how to change it into a possibility mode. She said every crisis is full of possibilities.
I did the work and she is right.

Life is not as I would have it.
My serenity isn't based on that.
What once sounded so pat and airy fairy
is now a reality in my gut.
Who knew it was possible?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Gratitudes

Tonight I am grateful for a wonderful AA home group who love me and surroud me with love and acceptance. I wasn't in the meeting room more than 5 minutes when someone asked me what was wrong and gave me a hug. I told them I didn't want to go there and just said that I was sad. They asked if they could share in my grieving.

Normally I only share for a few minutes in a meeting. I am very aware I am not the only one to share and I keep it brief. Today I took up more than enough time sharing. Most of the people in the room I hardly knew. Several of my home group were absent. But people recognize pain and I shared mine with them. They honoured it.

Afterwards I was able to go spend some time with a friend who has asked me to write her life story in book form. About all I can say about it is that for her to tell her story is to put family members in her home country in danger because of political unrest. I am honoured she is trusting me with her story. I trained in journalism a lifetime ago and still love to dig deeper into people's stories and ask the hard questions. It will be a long project to get her story on paper. Tonight I realized we will have to print it with an alias for myself as well in order to protect her further.

When I was done in town I drove to my sponsor's house and we sat outside and talked for nearly two hours straight. Her experience, strength and hope are a beacon of light for me. She is the person I love the most in the program.

It's a calm summer evening here. There will be maybe an hour of dusk tonight and then the sky will begin getting brighter. Unless I wake up at 2 AM I will be able to see the trees out the window from night until morning. I love this time of year.

I am enjoying a pot of peppermint tea from leaves I just plucked from a pot of herbs on my deck. It doesn't take much for me to feel content.

Sadly Six

Wounded Heart, Tears Unending, Distant Hope

~ Show My Face.

Friday, June 19, 2009

No Resistance

"You cannot live in the present or be present with your mind. It happens on a body level when you are fully attentive and offering no resistance to the moment."

From Richard Rohr's The Gospel of Mark (Tape 14)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Really Silly

"The snoring I can get used to but not the flailing of arms while you sleep...."

The woman's voice fades as it competes for attention with the sound of of clanking cutlery and waiters taking drink orders. I look up and if I turn my head to the right I can see her in a booth directly in my line of vision. The restaurant is dark and her face is illuminated only by the lamp hanging above their table. Her guy has his back to me and I never do get a glimpse of him. I notice her petite frame, how her blonde hair and fair complexion are complimented by the downy pink blouse she is wearing. Honest to God when I hear people carry on this way and see that their partner doesn't just up and walk out I wonder to myself if the sex is that worth it? I mean, really?

I turn back to my food and realize it was her voice I'd heard earlier when she ranted about getting a text message from a guy she'd dated twice over two years ago. She had a whine to her voice that made me wonder why he'd send her a text message this long after the fact?

As dearest one and I eat our supper her voice fades in and out.
Eventually I hear her start a list of things the guy needs to work on.
Number one is that he needs to try to snore less.
Yes. You got that right.
Try. To. Snore. Less.
"I'll get right on it," I imagine him replying.
I never do get to hear him talk.
I wonder what the rest of her list is.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
The next time I hear her voice she is telling him
with just a slight hint of a threat
that if he doesn't start snoring less
they'll have to sleep in separate bedrooms after they get married.
She's been talking to him like he is a child
every time her voice rises above the din.

Oh. My. Dear. Woman.
I wonder how long she's been trying to get used to the snoring.
From her first sentence up there at the beginning of this post
I thought maybe they'd only spent a night or two together so far.
And here she is planning a wedding and bedrooms and snore control.
As if there is such a thing.

I so want to walk over there
and ask him if he is out of his mind.
What the hell is he doing listening to a woman
tell him to stop snoring so much?
I want to tell him to run for the hills.
I so want to shake her silly.
Really silly.
And ask her how well does she love.
Because in the end it never comes down
to snoring or flailing your arms.
It just doesn't.
Sometimes it starts there but it never ends there.
Oh. My. Dear. Woman. How. Well. Do. You. Love?

Monday, June 15, 2009

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other....

"I'm scared."
I look up and in the bed across from me
is a woman in tears.
There is no privacy in this holding cell.
Least that's what it feels like, a holding cell
or an assembly line.
She's too far across the way for me to say anything
without it sounding like I'm yelling my comfort.
Somehow yelling and comfort
don't seem to belong in the same sentence
never mind in an outpatient department.
A nurse comes who listens and comforts.
God bless him.

I've laid there for quite a few hours waiting for my test and this woman across from me is the third patient whose occupied that bed already this morning. I thought the system seemed like an assembly line when they brought me in. As I see people get undressed (well, not watch them, but you know they are doing that behind the curtain) get wheeled down the hallway and come back, get kicked out of the bed so the next person can have a turn, my hunch about assembly lines rings true. As this woman talks of her symptoms and cries I cringe inside. I'd be scared, too, if I were her. It doesn't sound good.

Earlier I smiled as I observed an old man (born in 1924, I heard him) reading a Diana Gabaldon novel. For some reason I would have never guessed Diana Gabaldon novels and old men belonged in the same sentence either.

People get wheeled off for colonoscopies and angiograms mostly. I seem to be the lone one being wheeled off in the other direction to the echocardiogram unit. I breathe in the hospital air and that smell, the one that lets me know where I am even with my eyes closed, makes me so very grateful that I am in the outpatient department and not a room.

Five years ago I spent 10 days here, in the city far from home, getting one test after another done. I was the youngest patient on the Cardiac Care Unit and spent my days with older women who had wonderful words of wisdom for me. I distinctly remember a woman with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, who was hooked up to oxygen 24/7, tell me what a blessing it would be if I got diagnosed with what the powers that be thought was a genetic connective tissue disease because I would be paving the way for generations to come.

That I would get to set the example of how to live with it.

Some days we walked to the TV room together and when we got there she'd move her oxygen pulse meter to my finger and check how I was doing. She'd nod her head in encouragement no matter what the number was and we'd turn and watch a TV that blared too loud and for too long. The day she talked to me about perspective I was sure she was an angel sent by God to show me the way to hope.

I am so grateful that the hospital is not where I live.
Grateful that I get to choose my attitude and outlook on life.
Life as it is.
Whether I like it or not.
They found a hole in my heart today.
A small one.
The doc said she's sitting on the fence
as to whether it needs to be fixed right now or not.
She's leaning towards not.
I'm fine with that.
I'm just grateful for another piece of the puzzle in place
for the temporary home I call my body.
The hole isn't going to kill me.
It doesn't solve all the questions
and the doc will be consulting with other specialists
to come up with a plan of action.

The last thing I wrote in my journal this morning
before we went to the hospital
was that I was scared.

The cardiologist and I ended up
negotiating the level of sedation I would get.
That meant I was awake for most of the procedure.
I forgot how triggering it is for me
to have tubes stuck down my throat
without any control over them.
I absolutely hate it.
But I made it through.

And here I am in a beautiful hotel room.
There are many things in my life right now
that are so totally out of my control.
Well, not like there isn't on any given day
for any given person.
I know that.
But some of the current out of control happenings in my life
are of the gut wrenching type.
And I don't like that one little bit.
Hey, I managed to type that sentence without swearing.
I've censored my swear words a number of times in this post.
I'd blame it on the lingering effects of the sedation
but we all know me better than that.

Digging deep for a gratitude list
is what I need to do right now.
That I don't have to do more than scratch the surface
for most of it makes me grateful in itself.
That I know it's okay to feel both scared and grateful is good, too.

As I went to wrap up this post that song from Sesame Street came to mind for a title.
So many things in life don't seem to belong together but still there they are.
I don't know, do swear words and hope belong in the same sentence?
Are they more alike than different?
Some days I wonder.

I am reminded once again of the term, "I get to...."
I get to have hope.
Not I have to or I want to
but I get to.
And now I'll shut up before I type a swear word or two in there for emphasis.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Going Under

We're in big city far from home where I'll have a diagnostic test early tomorrow morning which will hopefully put another piece into the puzzle that is my enlarged heart. It's been a long day of driving with the bonus of seeing one of dearest one's brother, who lives just a few miles from us and who set out on holidays this morning. We ran into each other at lunch time in a city 6 hours down the road. A nice surprise in our day.

The last time I had a diagnostic test that required being put semi under I woke up feeling drunk. I absolutely loved the feeling as if it hadn't been 20 years since I'd experienced such a feeling. This time I advocated for myself and told the cardiologist that I would refuse any medication that would make me feel that way again. She went a little off on me - concerned that I'm an alcoholic - and promptly ordered blood work for my liver. Sigh. My dear cardiologist it's been 21 years since I had a drink. I think my liver has recuperated by now. She also came up with an alternative which has no happy drugs in it. I am grateful.

For all my attempts at surrendering life to God on a daily basis there two times when I really get it that I am not in control of the universe. One of those is when I get put under for medical tests. The other is when I get on an airplane. I'm glad that going under anaesthetic tomorrow will be without the side effect of feeling like I'm flying high.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Out of the Mirage

Out of the mirage of her life appeared her authentic self.
She hugged her and whispered in her ear,
"I've waited so long to meet you."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Of Belly Buttons And Thanksgiving

The two tops hits I get on my blog are for
a poem by Ted Loder called
Thank You For Each Moment.

and for belly button birthdays.

Both seem appropriate to repost today.
Tomorrow is my belly button birthday and I'll be turning 47.
I am grateful for every year I get on this earth.
I was born way too early in a time where preemie babies rarely made it.
Every day is a gift.
So it seems a good time to reprint the original poem by Ted Loder:

Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the blue-sky moment,
the softening earth,
the refreshing wind,
the yellow bush,
for my full heart
and the joy rising in me.

Soften me
to receive whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it

Lord, thank you for each moment
for the twilight moment,
the pause,
the good tired,
for the quiet reflection,
the slowing down,
the mysterious sunset,
for the wisdom growing inside me.

Gentle me
to feel whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it

Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the midnight moment,
the loneliness,
the fretful wondering,
for the watchful stars,
the long ache,
the sleepless wait,
and the hope straining in me.

Focus me
to see whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it

Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the high-noon moment,
the job,
the necessary routine,
for the sweaty struggle,
the impulse to change,
and the courage gathering in me.

Ground me
to wrestle with whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it

Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the shared moment,
the listening,
the unguarded word,
for the fragile openness,
the ready smile,
the accepted difference,
for my passionate heart
and the trust rooting in me.

Stretch me
to grow with whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it

Thank you for each moment,
for the charged moment,
the confrontation,
for the hard decision,
the unexpected growing,
for my intense heart
and the truth expanding in me.

Free me
to be open to whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it

Thank you for each moment,
for the holy moment,
the music,
the child's eyes,
for the sunlight,
the touch,
the tears,
for the trembling pleasure,
the unutterable beauty,
for the life and love and heart in me aware,
and the wholeness spreading in me.

Touch me
through whatever comes as a gift
That I may be grateful
and praise you in it

~from Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Broken Open

"Give me your failure, he says and I will make life out of it. Give me your broken, disfigured, rejected, betrayed body, like the body you see haning on the cross, and I will make life out of it. It is the divine pattern of transformation, and it never seems to change. We'll still be confused, but not so confused with our confusion. We'll still have our little anxieties and fears, but we will not be so afraid of our fears. We'll still experience weakness but will not be so weakened by our weakness......Our wound is our way through......We might eventually thank God for our wounds, but usually not until the second half of life....because of that experience [wound], his heart was finally broken open."
~ Richard Rohr in Everything Belongs.

I don't remember experiencing a wound so deep like I am these days, since I had a nervous breakdown nine years ago. I've always said I would never willingly sign up for that kind of pain again, neither would I trade who I became as a result of it. And so I trust that the journey through the wound is worth it.

A few nights ago dearest one was away for night and I was laying awake for several hours when I remembered that Fr. Thomas Keating has said that some people wake up in the night and spend time in Centering Prayer. Instinctively I knew that I was to lay in bed in that position of a baby at sleep in total trust. You know the one where their arms are above their head, in total vulnerability. I told God I would much rather cross my arms across my chest but in obedience I didn't. As my arms went above my head and I consented to God's presence and action in my life I started to cry and cried for a very long time. Eventually the tears stopped and I lay like that for a while yet. The turmoil that has enveloped me for weeks now disappeared and was replaced by peace.

The next morning I woke up and it was still there. I doubted it for a bit - wondering if I'd just gone into survival mode and had shut my emotions down. The peace has stayed through many more tears along with facing deep fears and making serious decisions. I continue to be humbled when God does for me what I cannot do for myself.

The video below has brought me great comfort today. Thanks to Beth for posting it.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Heart Problems

Taking another blogging break.
Be back later.
If I don't post by next weekend please pray for me
as I will be headed then to city far away for medical tests
for my enlarged heart.


"Love seeks not its own."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Today I did something I've never done before.
I photocopied the last few weeks of my journal
and dropped it off for my therapist to read.

I haven't seen her in a long while.
Giving her my journal to read will
be like getting two appointments for one.
She can read everything I would have told her anyway.
And it gives her some time to mull it over
and take note of what jumps off the page at her.

I'm grateful I'm not the wreck I was a few days ago.
I'm trying not to analyze to death
whether it's because I have some real peace
or because the circumstances don't seem so dire.
I'm trying to just be grateful for a bit of relief.

Today I thanked and gave boxes of chocolates to the staff of another institution who have fielded umpteen work related phone calls from me this past week as we settled into our new location. Funny how perspective is different from one person to another. As a coworker and I walked over to pick up some keys and drop off the chocolates she looked at them and asked me if they were a bribe. I told her no, they were a gift of thanks. I know the people at that institution were just doing their job, answering my phone calls and coming to my assistance. They did it graciously and with much patience whether I called three times in five minutes or twice in 8 hours, of which I did both many times.

At one point in my day I had a task where I walked between printer and computer every 20 seconds for about 15 minutes. One of my coworkers commented that I was very patient. I told her if the worst problem in my day was having to walk back and forth between the two machines to get the job done then I really didn't have any problems, did I?

Perspective is a gift.
I'm grateful when I have some.


There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank God.
I fell asleep on the couch at 7PM last night.
At 8 PM dearest one woke me and I sleepily
went and crawled into bed.
At 5 AM I shut off my alarm and slept another hour.
That helped.
I was pretty spoonless when I came home from work yesterday.
A day where I felt irritable and didn't want to be there.
It takes loads of energy to be pleasant
when one could be snarky without expending any energy.
I am grateful that feeling irritable is not my normal state of being.

Today is a new day.
Thank God.