Monday, January 24, 2011

Whose Plan is it?

I saw something in one of the daily devotionals I read once in awhile, and I wrote it down. But, I was in the middle of reading the newspaper, so I wrote on an advertisement, so of course I don't know where it is now. It was something like, "Am I being the person God put me on this earth to be?"

I've thought about that question, or some form of that question, every day since I saw it. And I keep sending these little prayers up to God, "Who do you want me to be Lord? Am I being that person? Am I doing what you want me to do?"

I like to think I'm living the life God planned for me, but, what do I know, really? It's easy to convince myself that what I'm doing at the time surely must be God's will for my life, as He hasn't thrown a big ole pipe wrench in the works lately. And, even if He does, that's no reason to doubt the path I'm on, as there have been many such wrenches thrown my direction, and while I may be bruised and slowed down, I do keep on keeping on. But . . .

Part of this all came about earlier in January revolving around the idea of getting healthy so I can have the energy to do the work God has in mind for me. Well, I love the idea of being healthy, and I'm pretty healthy, but I'm also not at a healthy weight. I have a serious chocolate and salt addiction that really messes with my getting healthy. Lately I have to drag myself out of the house to go to the pool for exercise, something I used to love.

So, am I rebelling against God's plan for my life by refusing to stop pigging out of chocolate and triscuits? Maybe. Is it slowing me down from performing my role to the best of my ability? Probably. Do I hear those mint M & M's calling me from the candy dish next to my husband's chair? You betcha. And am I waiting for him to go off to bed and sneak into the dish? Most definitely.

The big things are no problem for me. I truly believe I was called to be a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. I really love my job, the teaching part. I love being married to the same guy for what seems like forever, and my daughters are what make my life worth living. I love and appreciate my friends, and hope that I am giving them what they need and want from me.

But, I'm not so sure about how critical my addiction to chocolate is to thwarting my being the person God plans for me to be. God love me unconditionally, according to what I've been told, so doesn't he just accept me as I am, fluffy and all? Does my size affect my ability to be the person God planned for me to be?

This is a huge question for me, with no easy answers. Part of the time I try to tell myself to just let go and just be me, whatever that is, and however big that is. But, I really don't like being so fluffy. It gets in the way of tying my shoes. It gets in the way of hiking, which is my one all time forever favorite thing to do.

The thing is, I hate dieting, with a passion. And while I can be very successful when I set my mind to it, I really hate the whole process and as soon as I quit, I just start eating chocolate and triscuits again. Which is where I am right now. I'm paying for Weight Watchers, but I rarely go. I'm really rebelling against "dieting" yet I'm wise enough to know that I'm not going to thin down without cutting down.

So, it all leads back, randomly, to the question, "Am I being the person God put me on this earth to be?" Physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, personally, creatively . . . I really don't know. I don't know if I'm ever going to know. I'm going to have to think about this some more. I'm going to try really hard to stay out of the candy dish tonight though.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lost and Found

I'm so happy! I found no only my lost earring, but two other "halves" that I thought were lost forever. Turns out I had put them all in my "Christmas" earring box, probably in a flurry of hurry-up-quick dresser clean off just before my birthday party! I'm so excited!

So far this morning, I've also found several items that I have been tucking away, in the idea that I'd eventually have some sort of "grouping" of old toys I've bought or found over the years. I've now created a couple of "waiting for grandchildren" shelves in the family room, filled with all these cute things I just love. I've been collecting child size kitchen items, mostly with red handles, and discovered I have a few duplicates (two child lefse rolling pins and egg beaters; obviously forgot I already had one of those earlier!). I recently got a darling little muffin tin, several cookie cutters and a loaf pan to add to the collection. I already had numerous red handled stirring spoons and such, then found a cute little old bowl that I think was meant to be a custard dish, but has red flowers and trim and the utensils fit perfectly. Then, I dug out a tea set that was my mom's, which has been stored under my wardrobe closet for about 10 years, and set it up. Gosh, it all looks so darn cute! Then I decided to move my toy sewing machine collection onto one of the shelves and it's pretty sweet, too.

It makes me happy (gee, that's twice today!) however, I also got dizzy and decided to stop and just write for joy while my dizziness subsides. Also having another glass of water and a banana, as the facilities are calling me . . .

Just Another Day - Mostly

Ok, I'm kind of getting tired of it all. Woke this morning with my eye crusty, so must continue the antibiotic . . . not a pleasant thought since that means numerous visits to the facilities again today. As I've already made more than I had at this time yesterday, I'm a bit worried.

I want to spend more than 20 minutes outside the bathroom, just a simple request. But, it's looking like a repeat of the past two days, with one exception. Kailyn just called and she's driving home for a quick overnight visit. She's bringing a friend to Vancouver, and will spend the night, then drive them both back. At least there will be some brightness for the day, and maybe, I will be better and we can take a short walk tomorrow. I can only hope!

She had planned to surprise us, then decided she'd better call to be sure we were home. No worries about that! It will be fun to chat at least, maybe watch a movie tonight.

I"ve been thinking a lot about this blogging business. It seems sort of artificial, as in my mind I'm writing to cyberspace, and it is boring to me. So, last night while I was cleaning the kitchen after dinner (I cooked; that's two days in a row!) I thought about the people who may be reading this. I only know of two: my daughter Jessica and my dear friend Deb. So, then I kind of thought about just writing to one of them instead of cyberspace. Maybe it will feel less stilted and foreign. Alas, it will likely get a bit more chaotic, as that is who I am in real time.

Being sick has been good for my ADD. I have been much more focused when puttering, well, sort of. I have completed numerous tasks over the past two days, not big ones, but still, finished them, which is not my norm. I usually have about ten-twenty tasks going on at once, hence the chaos.

I am totally caught up on laundry, a rare experience. I completely cleaned both bathrooms, floor to ceiling, as I was in there anyway! (insert one of those smily faces with the unsure smile) I not only took an antique coffee grinder apart, and cleaned it's parts with steel wool, but I also put it back together! Now, that is amazing! I wanted to actually use it, but it's just too far gone, still a nice antique-y sort of item.

And, the big one, I cleaned off the clutter on my dresser. I suffer from a very bad habit of not replacing my earrings on my holder, but dumping them in a pile in the middle of my dresser . . . not a good thing. This time, I sadly discovered that I am missing one-half of my favorite blue earrings that Kailyn made me years ago. Probably one of the first pairs she made. I'll have to confess, so that hopefully she can replicate it while she is home. I may still find it, but it's doubtful, as I thoroughly searched my drawers, and the floor. (The only time I get on my knees is to search for fallen earrings, my apologies to God, but I know He understands. It hurts something fierce to get on my knees!)

I've also kept up on the general clutter that accumulates in the house. And, cleared out the dreaded dark hole cupboard and the appliance garage and the leftover container drawer. That task took over much of yesterday, and gave me the greatest sense of satisfaction. I love things orderly and findable!

So, despite the fact that I'm homebound one more day, I'm sort of looking forward to what I will manage to accomplish. First on the list will be returning various items to the shelves in the family room, that were cleared at Christmas for the Snow Village houses. Then, I really want to install the new printer! That should keep me busy for the next few hours.

While it is "just another day" it is my day, and I like that!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Staying In

I thought I slept in yesterday! Today I didn't get up until nearly 8! It's been almost an hour, and my day is starting out just like yesterday, how fun is that?

Most of yesterday was spent on the couch, with a few little trips to the bathroom. Since I was there anyway, I did some cleaning, then back to the couch. I found I was dizzy when up too long. It wasn't until the middle of the afternoon that I happened to pick up the information sheet that comes with a prescription and read the side effects for the antibiotic. Well, that was a relief, I guess, as the first two mentioned were what I'd been dealing with all day. At least there was a reason and it wasn't another illness coming on.

Fortunately, the doctor told me to just take the medication until I showed no symptoms, my eye was clear in particular, as she didn't give me more drops. The new view is that over use of antibiotics is detrimental. As this one has some side effects, I will take her at her word! I just checked my eye in the mirror and it's almost clear. Maybe one more day of forced home stay.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Giving In

Today I slept in until after 7. I know, that doesn't seem like sleeping in to most people, but it was an extra two hours for me. As I've spent the last hour alternately reading the paper, drinking a cup of coffee, and going through most of a new box of kleenex and multiple trips to the bathroom, I think my illness is "breaking up". Last Friday I stayed home, with a burning throat, and slept nearly the day away. I expected that, and keeping to home over the weekend, would fix what ails me. It didn't.

I drug myself to work on Monday (mainly because I didn't have the energy to make dreaded sub plans), and at the end of the day, realized there was a good reason why my left eye was burning like crazy and weeping. I looked in the mirror when I got home and it was completely red. This, and the fact that I was coughing and congested would have convinced any sane person to take the next day off, and make a doctor appointment. I plead insane (and the time involved of making sub plans). I dug out some drops from the last time I had conjuctivitis, took my daily dose of Nyquil and went to bed.

By Wednesday, most of my co-workers were telling me to get out of there and don't come back. Plus, what was left of the eye drops had run out early in the day. So, I gave in, called a friend to sub and made a doctor appointment for Thursday afternoon.

Even though I felt I was "better" (this being better than dead) I decided to just give myself Friday (today) off and called a second friend to sub, as the first one wasn't available today.
Man, am I glad I did. It would have been a miserable day with the kids, and I'm not sure I would have made it to the facilities in a timely fashion.

And, so, I am "giving in" to sickness and I'm going to lay around all day and be sick, hopeful that the antibiotic the doctor prescribed yesterday will kick in soon and get me back on my feet. Fortunately, it's a three day weekend, so I really should be well by Tuesday!

I don't know why, at my age, I still fight being sick tooth and nail. And, when I finally decide to give in, I am blessed with instant peace. I'm looking forward to a blissful day of nothing. (Well, nothing but blowing my nose, coughing, and trips to the bathroom! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I've started this post about three or four times since before Christmas, and it's changed dramatically each time.  As it keeps twisting and turning into directions I don't want it to go, I'm starting over tonight!

I love giving gifts to people!  It is just such a pleasurable thing to either find something I think is perfect, or think of something I can make, that I know a person will love and appreciate.  Maybe deep down I just love having an excuse to spend money and/or time on others; whatever it is, the act of gifting  just makes me feel all happy inside.

So, why am I sometimes so lousy at this thing I love?  This year, I somehow just ran out of steam, time, energy, whatever, and didn't give to a few folks who really mean a lot to me.  It kind of boggles my mind that I didn't make the effort to make it happen.  And then, as Christmas chugged into being, and ran past me, I felt kind of embarrassed that I neglected these folks.  So, now I feel silly calling, and feel kind of silly running out and getting "something" to ease my guilt.  I'm honestly not trying to "get away with" skipping out on my "gift duty" but it feels that way inside.  I think the issue is that I don't really know what to give, as we've kind of grown apart over the past few years, and all I can think of is cash or gift cards, and I don't get a good feeling giving cash or gift cards.  They seem so impersonal.  Perhaps that is exactly this issue here . . . it's hard to enjoy giving a gift when you don't know whether it's wanted or not.  I just don't care for the idea of giving gifts just because I'm "supposed" to.  I guess I selfishly just want to, but I need to have some inspiration or guidance or motivation, if that makes any sense!

Well, the real purpose of this post, which has still managed to take on a life of it's own that wasn't intended, was to reflect on the heart gifts I either received or was involved with in some way this year.  My husband gave me a totally unexpected gift, that I didn't ask for, and didn't think I could ask for.  Christmas morning there was this large box stuck way behind the tree, and it was the last thing I opened.  It was a printer!  Now this may not seem so great to most people, and I felt kind of bad about it because I just got a new "free" printer last summer.  But, the "free" printer was a pain in the neck.  The printing of photos was really bad, even after I bought new color cartridges, and I was trying to print some invitations and having so much grief, and yelling, quite a lot, at the "free" printer.  So, I think the printer was kind of a gift to himself (so he doesn't have to hear me cursing at the old printer anymore) but, hey, I'll take a love gift when it's given to me! Now, I still haven't set up the new printer, as I'm kind of intimidated by it, but I'll get around to it, or get motivated when I want to print off photos again!  (The old one does fine with black and white documents!)

I received several love gifts from my daughters at Christmas that I adored.  Kailyn made me two more pair of wonderfully creative earrings, in the colors I most desired, and they are stunning.  Over the years I've had many compliments on my earrings, and they are usually ones that she has made.  She also framed one of my very favorite photos of her and I from her graduation that is especially precious to me.  Kailyn has a way of finding just the right photos and I appreciate that she takes the time to look for them and put them together in ways that work.  She made a "Christmas Set" for me last year, and a book of "Beach House Memories" that commemorate times spent as a family when the girls were growing up.

Jessica loves to paint.  In the past she has made me plates that I hang on the wall, and they are beautiful. This year she painted me a picture of a great old red barn with a really cool sky.  She painted each of us a picture, and each reflected something meaningful for the giver and receiver.  She also wrote a bible verse on each picture, mine very appropriately beginning, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life . . . " She included an original poem along with the paintings. Jess is a gifted writer, and I treasure the many poems she has written over the years.

Handmade gifts are such a blessing to me.  I am inspired by the creativity and thought that went into these gifts, and love feeling the love that emanates from them to me. Yet, possibly the greatest love gift I witnessed this season was one that Kailyn made for her boyfriend, Nick.  This year, I was an outsider, watching Kailyn design and put together a quilt for her boyfriend.  I watched as this younger version of myself, cut and sewed and ripped out imperfect seams, and re-sewed.  Her tenacity amazed me; she refused to give up, even after realizing that the pattern she chose would be challenging for an experienced quilter (one I wouldn’t have chosen because I hate matching a million half-square triangles!) she just kept plugging away.  At one point, she came into the room where I was reading with a square and a seam ripper and said, “I’ve sewn this one together wrong two times!” Yet, her words were calm, she was smiling, and cheerfully ripping out the stitches to try again. 

I was bothered by the memory of my angry, frustrated self, until later when Kailyn told me that she really appreciated my teaching over the years, and that she couldn’t have attempted to do what she did without the previous experiences we’d had at the sewing machine together. And I realized, I must have done a pretty good job, as she was a talented seamstress!  I had no one helping me as I learned to sew, it was all by trial and error, and there were a lot of errors! I was reminded once more of the dress I made for myself on my hand crank toy Singer sewing machine in 8th grade.  My dad was convinced that I was determined to learn to sew and bought me a used sewing machine for Christmas that year.  I remember that he took me aside and explained that it was expensive and that was the reason it was my only gift. That machine was precious to me for many, many years and I regret that while I no longer have it, I have the memory of that first sewing machine, and my dad's gift to me.

So, gifts are good!  Sometimes, gifts are tangible, visible, and perpetual.  These gifts wrap you in love, literally, as in a warm quilt, or emotionally, as you catch a glimpse of a precious gift as you pass by. The memories and emotional connections linger as I savor the growth, experiences, time, effort, and sacrifice that carried these gifts from the giver to me.  Heart gifts wrap us up and bind us to those we love. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Eve Hike

For nearly three weeks I'd been wanting to take a hike with Kailyn, but it wasn't until New Year's Eve day when the sun was shining and the temperature hovering around freezing when we decided it had to happen, as she would be driving back to school the next day. It was already afternoon, and we both had plans that evening, so we were a bit limited on time, and lamented the fact that we should stick fairly close to home.

We layered clothes, grabbed a few treats and Nikki's water bottle and of course, Nikki, and headed out to Round Lake for a quick jaunt.  About a block down the road we both remembered something we forgot and we made the next turn to go home, me for my walking stick, Kailyn for her camera.  Off again, and we both wondered aloud about Round Lake . . . it's so "ordinary" as we've been there many times, and I said, "Let's drive out to Moulton Falls". I did a quick calculation . . . 40 minutes to drive there, an hour or so to hike, return home . . . yeah, we could manage and be home by 4:30! So,  as we were driving the opposite direction, once more we made the same turn and headed back toward home, but instead over to catch 205.

As we were driving along, Kailyn asked, "Aren't we going the wrong way?  Shouldn't we be heading south?"

I told her "No" as it dawned on me that she thought I said Multnomah Falls,  and I said, "Oh, I'm sorry but I don't think we have time to turn around again." We laughed about how much the two places sounded alike, and agreed that it would still be great to visit Moulton Falls, and so we continued on our way.

We pulled into the parking area, found gloves and bundled up. As we exited the car we were blasted by cold air and thought, "Are we nuts?" but, decided to hike at least for a short while as Nikki was really excited to be out and about.  It was gorgeous!  We marveled at the icy jeweled little waterfalls and Kailyn took lots of photos.

It was freezing cold, and it wasn't long before our fingers were numb, despite the gloves, and our noses were red, but the walk was breathtakingly beautiful and worth every minute.  We were surprised to find that we weren't the only crazy ones, as we passed many couples and families coming and going on the trail.  It was a perfect thing to do on New Year's Eve day with my daughter and our dog.

Happy New Year ~ 2011