Thursday, August 27, 2009


As I sit here with writing projects on the back burner, trying to figure out how to get to them and do them well, this talk really encouraged me today. I was in tears by the end of it. I hope you enjoy it, too.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nurturing What?

"Go talk to her now, Hope. You won't be able to sleep tonight unless you do."

I had just left the office for the day, put my backpack and purse down and decided to make a bathroom stop before I headed out for the hour long drive home. I had no desire to risk this. No siree. I'd already said goodbye to my boss and dearest one was waiting for me in the car. There is nothing so sweet as the thought of going home at the end of a work day.

As I prevented getting wet feet I thought about Step 10 - and how I needed to go back into the office and talk to my boss. I thought about dearest one waiting in the car, my boss wrapping up her own day, and how tired I was. In the end none of that mattered. I prayed for some humility and went to see her.

Earlier in the day I'd gone to her office where she was working on a powerpoint presentation. I didn't wait to see what she was doing, just saw my job title on the page and made an offhand, rather condescending remark, about how that really wasn't my job title as I really did this instead. There was just enough of an attitude behind my words that I realized soon after that my ego had just hit a home run. Ugh.

My boss is pretty easy going. Nothing much impresses her. She takes people at face value. After I told her I'd had an attitude about my job title she told me she didn't think I'd had an attitude, no worries. I told her that if it didn't show outwardly I had at least sensed it inwardly. What followed was a conversation about my job and how I really did do the other job. She figured she should submit a letter on my behalf so that my job title got changed because I'd get a nice pay raise if she did that. I smiled. It had nothing to do with actual job title or my paycheque, but with my attitude about it. I didn't try to make her understand anything at that point. I'd just fessed up to my arrogance and left it at that.

It's been a very busy few days. It will only get busier over the next few weeks. It might seem like a little thing to not have let that initial conversation go but to me it wasn't. If I can't fess up about those little things then you can bet your booties they will grow into bigger things that I could decide don't need any attention either. I would grow spiritually sick. There are many opportunities every day at work to cop an attitude and feed it. There are those who would help me nurture a bad attitude, too. I just don't want to go there. It doesn't lead to any good thing. AA has taught me that.

I wrote this all last night and left it for this morning to see if I still wanted to post it or hit the delete button.
So here you go.
I hope you have a great day.
I plan on it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Scary Presence


I lean forward and say it close to her ear as she appears in the doorway. It's the only thing I can think of to do that might distract her from how I am dressed. Somehow, in my rush to get out the door on time, I get to work and realize I am still in my caftan. My attempt to scare her doesn't phase her one. little. bit. It's the first day back to work and she's on a mission. Eyes straight forward, rushing to her office. She barely acknowledged my presence. I stand there a bit perplexed that my attire warranted nary a second glance and a bit relieved at the same time.

Thank God it was only a dream.

My alarm certainly jolted me awake this morning and once I had some clarity of thought, I decided that my first day back at work would be just fine no matter what.

I did contemplate scaring my coworker anyway but decided that since I'm the only one in the office without CPR training, I best behave myself.

Caftans are incredibly comfortable though.
It's a shame they aren't appropriate work attire.
Scary thought, that.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Six Words Says It

I feel blessed in every way.

~ Show My Face.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Marking Time

Yesterday was my dad's birthday.
I have a history of either sending cards waaay too early
or late or sometimes I just save them for the next year
so they have a hope of being somewhat on time.
Sometimes I have to look at the postage stamp
and see how much it cost
to decipher what year I meant to send the card.
I have a card for one of my sisters that is probably a decade old.
I can tell by how cheap the stamp is.

This year I wrote a note in my dad's card that said,
"Finally got one to you on time."
and then I let the card ride around in my car for three days.
Which meant it might get there on time
or I'd have to eat crow for a while.
The card arrived yesterday, right on time!
Wonders never cease.
My dad would have had a great chuckle over
my note had the card arrived late.

In his birthday card I put a photo I'd received of
the gravestone I bought last month
for my brother Rodney's grave.
I've never heard my dad say his name.
Yesterday when I called the first thing my dad said to me was, "That was a very nice idea to put a gravestone on (momentary pause) Rodney's grave."

My dad turned 79 yesterday.
Rodney would've been 49 this year.
Doing the math I realize what a young man
my dad was when Rodney died.
He was the only one in our family
who knew where Rodney was buried
until I asked him 20 years ago.

It's taken 20 years for me to make good on the promise to put a marker on Rodney's grave. I am so glad my parents are still alive to see the promise fulfilled.

My parents go for coffee with a group of cronies twice a week.
Today is one of those days.
I sit here wondering
if my mom slipped the photo in her purse
to show her sister
or if his memory will always be

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Really Truly

I loved this saying when I read it here.

Don't believe everything you think."

I need that tattooed somewhere I could see it all the time.
Most likely my navel. :)


Read this over at Rae's blog.

Step 1 tells me there's a power that want to destroy me.
Step 2 tells me there's a power that wants to save me.
Step 3 tells me I get to choose which power wins.

Full Of Promise

I have always liked this song and this video. A good way to start the day - with gratitude. It is a beautiful day outside - sunny and warm. We spent the evening last night with good friends. Today is full of promise, just waiting to be lived.

**Some people might find the nudity in this video offensive. It is about so much more than that. Which makes me want to go off on a tangent. I spent much of my life only being able to see black and white, what was before me. There was a time when I would have only seen the nudity in this video and for that reason called it bad, incapable of discerning anything deeper than she's naked, omg, close your eyes, get thee behind me Satan. Yep, that really was me at one point. I didn't want to look any deeper at life.(Just ask my kids, they are rolling their eyes with remembering that me as they read this I'm sure.) Nuance, reading between the lines, seeing the spirit of something, was beyond my ability. I have been blessed with friends who have shown me what it's like to see what's written between the lines of life. I continue to learn.**

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


"You are one inch away from God."

That's what it said on this gigantic black and white poster my dad showed me in a dream I had this morning. Weird, eh? It was one of those posters where if you looked close it was just a bunch of circles, numbers and shapes with gaps here and there. You had to hold it a distance away before you could see that the gaps were what formed the letters.

Sometimes we are too close to a situation to see what it has to tell us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One Day At A Time

Just want to point you in the direction of of this post so you can tell Ellie congratulations on celebrating 731 days of sobriety. Thanks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hearing Myself Think

Moments into being at my home group AA meeting yesterday I shared laughter with friends. Instantly I noticed just how tight and tense I had been. I'd had several days of appointments with people who cut through the crap with me which left me facing stuff that I'd like to ignore, but that wouldn't be the wisest choice, would it? Thank goodness God gives grace for the situation and not the imagination.

Good meeting. Great people. Good sharing. Just what I needed.

This morning I have no spoons. Not sure I have the energy to even have a shower. A day of gentle self care is in store. We spent the day yesterday helping oldest son and his bride of nearly a year(!)move into a bigger place. It felt good to not be the one moving. In the midst of cleaning I realized that 16 years ago on that day we moved. That was 4 houses ago now. Anyway, as I cleaned I was totally happy to use one of my favourite cleaning products. I am no house cleaner. I have stuff all over the place. It is a struggle for me to have a clean house on any day. But using that product makes me smile and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. The shine can't disappear in a day.

I have one more week left until I go back to work. I had planned on a quiet week of no appointments, no outside the house happenings, but that dang tooth that I broke the other day will need attention tomorrow. That's when my dentist returns from holidays and my mouth/throat/neck gland is pretty sore on one side already. I had thought because the broken tooth itself didn't hurt it wouldn't hurt to leave it to get attended to until the dentist came back from vacation. However, every time I talk, swallow, eat, or drink, my tongue runs over a sharp edged crater. It's done it so much I have a canker sore on the underside of my tongue. In an effort to not be in pain I am talking much less.There's a conspiracy in there somewhere!

Youngest son moved to town yesterday, to join oldest son and his bride at their new digs. We are now empty nesters. I have mixed feelings about that. More positive than not but it is an adjustment. When people hear that both dearest one and I drive 150km round trip daily to work they ask if we've thought of moving to town. We have, but we value our privacy and quiet out here on the farm. Of course at the end of a work day we'd like to be a 10 minute drive from home but in summer and on weekends, when we don't have to go anywhere, it sure is nice to sit on the deck or around a campfire and hear ourselves think.

Which is the only thing I'm going to be able to do if I don't get my tooth fixed soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Of Saints and Jewels

"And lend your voices only
to sounds of freedom.
No longer lend your strength
to that which you wish
to be free from.
Fill your lives
with love and bravery,
and you shall lead
a life uncommon

~ Jewel's lyrics to Life Uncommon

Today is the feast day of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. I read about him here. As I was driving this morning I was listening to the above song by Jewel, my very favourite one, and couldn't help but think of Fr. Kolbe. How he lived a life of love and bravery and so, a life uncommon. As I listened I thought about Jewel and Fr. Kolbe and how a modern song could point me to a saint.

Gratitude Fix

I'm feeling really irritable this a gratitude list is in order:

  • for good health benefits. Yesterday I was doing errands around town and saw a woman who looked like she's lived a hard life. I could see by the shape of her face that she most likely has no bottom teeth and no dentures. I think I take a dental plan for granted. That's what I thought when I saw her - "Hope you have it good." Last night I broke a tooth. The dentist will fix me up no problem, no money, no worries. That is something to be grateful for.

  • for words of wisdom. My therapist has a key phrase she taught me. "What am I pretending not to know?" I have a love/hate relationship with that phrase but it cuts through the bullshit like knife through hot butter.

  • for a fridge full of good food. Yesterday was grocery shopping day, something I do about twice a month. I have a little print out on my fridge that reads: "If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of this world." Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

  • for people who will cut through my bullshit without a second thought. I have an appointment with Fr. Charlie today. He's called me on more bullshit than most anyone in my life simply by being fully present while I hear myself trying to bullshit my way through stuff. His silence can be deafening sometimes, it makes my own words ring in my ears. Today he'll help me sort through some stuff that I'd rather not deal with. I am grateful that I know I can't be healthy journeying solo....I need the input of others to help me keep an even keel.

  • for life. "I get to...." is a phrase I use when I need an attitude adjustment. It puts things into perspective from "I have to....(oh poor me)" So for today I get to choose just how much those irritable inner feelings are going to pollute the world around me. And I get to choose whether they'll define my day or not. Part of me wants to milk them for all they're worth. "Cept they aren't worth much other than a potential barometer of some inner shit I need to deal with.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


"How long do you think I'll last?"

He looks at me and I look at him.
He tries to keep any sign of emotion out of his face.
I can read his eyes though.

"Two days, tops."

That's his guess.
I don't tell him that
I think he's being generous.

Youngest son is moving out later on this week.
The pugaboos sleep in his bed.
Dearest one thinks they should sleep in ours
once we are empty nesters.
I've been saying things along the lines of over my dead body.

They slept in our bed last night.
They kept this dead body warm.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are You?

"Your life has been transformed. Are you going to live like it?"

I've been dreaming vividly every night for weeks now.
In last night's dream an old counselor of mine
was doing a dance of empowerment
with a group of women
when she danced right up to me
and whispered the above in my ear.
I've been pondering it all day.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Change Is In the Air

My own bed.
It will feel so wonderful to sleep in tonight.
I already slept in it for 5 hours today.
I was wiped from being with 50+ people for the past two days.
I realized over the weekend that I've been gone from home for 3 out of the 5 weeks I've had off from work so far. Another two weeks and it will be back to work. I'm hoping to stick closer to home for the remainder. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining - I consider being able to go anywhere a privilege. Often when I am out for a walk and see the traffic going by in the distance I wonder if the people in those vehicles consider it a privilege to be able to get up and go at the turn of a key in the ignition. I do.

This will be a week of change.
Youngest son is moving out.
I will miss him.
We've had some turbulent times, and I've always been grateful for a second chance with him.

This afternoon he was talking to me about music, normally he listens to songs I can't decipher the lyrics to, but every so often he comes and tells me there's this song he likes that he thinks I'll like. He hadn't watched the video but nonetheless I sat here and had tears streaming down my face as I listened:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Praying We Will Go

"The one thing we can take with us to heaven is our children."

So said my preacher brother-in-law this morning during family devotions.

I was so tempted to disagree out loud with dearest one's brother but decided that restraint of tongue would not kill me and I really didn't need to throw a wrench into family devotions by giving my unsolicited opinion. After all, that's what a blog is for, right?

The prayer I do pray more than any other prayer for me, dearest one, my adult children and their partners, is that we would put God first in our lives. But it's each person who has to put God there, we can't do that for one another. And I don't even know if I can say when someone else has. It's simply not my job.

There are 50+ of us gathered for the weekend to celebrate my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. We're camping at the home of one of the siblings and it's going much better than I expected, morning devotions included. So well that we decided to stay for both nights instead of one like we had planned on.

Dearest one and I got home yesterday morning from visiting only daughter and lover boy (sorry only daughter but that's the pseudonym for him that sticks in my head) and arrived at this family gathering by supper time. And while there's nothing quite like my own bed, I am content to spend time tonight again with extended family.

It has been wonderful to have a holiday trailer to escape to whenever I need a little solitude and it's total luxury to have Internet access while I'm in it. Right now it's a way to pass some time while nearly everyone else is otherwise occupied. I've already helped cook and clean up from lunch then spent several hours visiting with family. Some are snoozing until suppertime, some are off fishing and swimming and riding motorbikes and the like. There will be a campfire tonight and more discussion, I'm sure.

My preacher brother-in-law asked for input from all of us gathered, what family values his parents had passed down to all present. Somehow the discussion got around to his mom and her disciplining the children - she had 11 of them - and how the boys would often make her run after them when she needed to discipline them and tried to make her laugh while they did so. I often think I have the best mother-in-law because she is so human and doesn't try to pretend otherwise. If you would ever see her hug someone she cares about, you would see her put her hand on their cheek and pull them close with her other hand and hug them tight. I love watching the way she does that.

I'm in the largest gathering of passive aggressive people I know. I had all kinds of conversations in my head before I got here about that. The kind where I am predicting who will say what and what my response was going to be. You know that fruitless inner conversation that wastes energy and can be so entertaining at the same time. Eventually I remembered an exercise that my therapist had walked me through the last time I saw her. First I had to list a judgement I had made of a person. Then I had to list what my presumption was. Then how I changed my behaviour as a result and what was I projecting. Finally she asked me to look at what the truth of it all was.

So I thought about one sister-in-law who has a sarcastic tongue. Barbed comments that in this setting are supposed to be taken in stride or else you're not being a good Christian.

So my judgement was that she was going to make many under her breath sarcastic comments. Then I looked at my presumption which was it was my job to put her in her place.

Next I looked at how I was going to change my behaviour as a result of these conclusions. I knew I would either avoid her or be tempted to give it right back to her. And when I looked at what I was projecting - well - I have had quite the sarcastic tongue of my own in my day. The only difference between us is that she often makes her comments under her breath to those closest by her and I just said mine right out loud for everyone to hear.

What might be the truth in all this? How could I reframe it? I was really surprised to reflect on her place in the family. She is the youngest of 11 children and most likely her sarcastic tongue developed as a coping mechanism. Probably needed it to survive the teasing and such that she would have been expected to take in stride, with no recourse to say stop it.

Reflecting on all this totally took the wind out of my sails when it came to thinking I needed to teach her a thing or two. There's nothing like believing my own sarcasm is going to help someone else lose theirs. Sigh. Let's just trade our passive aggressiveness back and forth shall we?

So after all that I prayed for humility and restraint of tongue. And also to speak my truth when need be.
Then I got in the car and drove here.
It's about supper time now, so there you go.
Not sure what the next discussion is going to be about
but restraint of tongue never goes out of style.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Thank God You Are Alive

It's one of those type and delete kind of evenings.
Wanting to write and not knowing what.
It's been a very hot day.
At one point I was trying to nap when
I heard thunder and rain and saw sunshine out the window.
What a weird combination.
One part of the sky black and pouring rain.
One part sunny.
I could get all philosophical about that.
But I won't.

Dearest one is away until tomorrow.
Youngest son is packing, readying himself for moving out.
Soon we will have a real empty nest.
Not sure how that will feel
but I do know I have only my life to live.
I've tried to live so many others' lives for them.

Today, as I was driving to town for my home group AA meeting,
I was overwhelmed with gratitude for being alive.
That seems to be hitting me more and more lately.
It feels like an actual wave coming over me
and I get all teary with gratitude.
I wonder if that increases as one ages?

I hear people complain about getting old
and I think to myself,
"My God, you're one of the lucky ones."
Does that mean everything about aging is fun?
Of course not.
Dearest one and I had a good laugh the other night when
I was screeching because my "arm joints hurt."
I kept saying it over and over again until they limbered up enough
for the pain to subside.
Then he said, "You mean your elbows."
Right. I'd forgotten in the midst of the pain
what the suckers were called.
Arm joints. New name for elbows.
Makes sense to me.

This week I learned of another young person's death.
He was only 28.
I knew him when he was a teen and then,
only in a acquaintance kind of way.
But it's just too young, you know?

Sometimes I worry I have the makings
of being one of those people
who walk the streets with a placard
that says something corny but true.
Something like the title of this post.
Underneath, in tiny print, it will read:
" and thank God for your arm joints."
That'll make them scratch their heads.