Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forgiveness and Love…

I have struggled for a few years with forgiving, which is something I haven’t had a really hard time with prior to this time in my life.  I’m not sure why it has been so difficult this time.  I’ve read and listened to the things that have helped me in the past to just let it go.  Then, last week when I was reading my novel, something struck me to the core.  The daughter in my novel had been raised by her father after her mother left them when she was five years old.  As an adult asking her father about it, the daughter made a comment that he must really hate her mother because of what she had done, and his response was, “Yes, almost as much as I love her.”

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks… all this time I have focused on the pain that I have gone through, and the injustices done to me.  I have honored requests to stay out of people’s lives.  What I finally realized is that even though these situations have hurt terrifically, I once had great love for those that I have struggled to forgive, and perhaps that great love is still present in some form.  And maybe I can finally forgive BECAUSE of that love, not in spite of it.  For some reason, recognizing that love and honoring requests because I love them instead of because I feel rejected or hurt by them makes it seem softer, not so difficult to forgive.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blessings amidst the chaos of life

As I watch the news and reflect on the happenings of the world and of my own life, I see how often momentary lapses in judgment can take a person down a path that they never intended.  At times in my life, I have found myself headed down those paths...what seems like something benign can actually lead to a place that was never intended or imagined from the beginning.  One thing seems to be common though... The good consequences don't happen by accident...they take work and constant effort, and the bad places we find ourselves usually happen by making poor choices or taking an easy path...not putting forth the effort to stay away or having the courage to say no.  Sometimes they are a result of deep pain, lashing out or "proving" that we can make that decision, sometimes they come from curiosity and wonder.  Coming back from those places is never an easy path, and staying out of those places that cause pain seems to be a constant battle for some people.

Just the other day I was talking with a member of my family who said, "Of course you are doing well and everything because I know you don't do anything wrong!"  I had to smile.  First, I think every person needs someone who looks at them and only sees the good.  That is truly a blessing!  But more important, it is also good to have people who know the good and the bad, and choose to believe and focus on the good, and encourage from that place of strength.  So many of the people I see on the news have family and friends that don't believe their family member is capable of the poor choices they make, but it's obvious they were.  We all are at some point.  But choosing better is what brings us true growth and happiness on this path of life.

We all go through difficult times, when we think the sun shines on everyone around us but wonder if it will ever shine on us again.  Just these last 2 or 3 weeks for me have been a struggle, but I keep getting up and moving forward.  Some days are better than others, and that is life.  I need to be more grateful for the days that really are better than others, instead of constantly watching the "rain" in my life.

With that in mind, I want to take a moment to recognize a few of the blessings for which I am grateful...
  • I am thankful for my health.  The more I study the body and disease, the more I am so thankful for my health.  I completely took it for granted in my earlier years, but appreciate it more and more with every year!
  • I am thankful for my cute pups that make me smile every day.
  • I am thankful for food at home, and a home for that matter.  
  • I am thankful for the sunshine yesterday, even if I only saw it for a little while.
  • I am so thankful for my current job that I enjoy, and that is helping me through school!
  • I am thankful for a mind that works, and for the opportunity I have to go back to school at my age and advance my profession a little more.  I never thought I would be here, but again, small choices at critical times can make a big difference in the path we land on...then it's just a matter of walking down that path a while.
  • I am thankful for my faith in God, in my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the hope I have in the future.  He is the one that has made my life possible as it is now, and who gives me inner peace in a world of chaos and despair.
I have come to realize that it doesn't always matter if we have the things in life that we always thought we would have, or if life ends up the way we plan.  Most often it seems like it doesn't.  But that doesn't mean we can't be happy in the moment, or come to appreciate the things we have today.  I need to remember this more often in my life, and be thankful for what I can do, and what I do have instead of focusing on the things that I want, or that I think I don't have.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Updates on the pups...

Wow...what a drag that last post was!  I will try to make this one a little more uplifting!  I noticed that I seem to do my better work in the wee hours of the morning instead of the afternoon...clearly afternoons should be reserved for naps and NOT composing new blog posts!

So a brief update on my pups.  I kept the two blonde dogs - Sadie and Addie.  Roxy (the black one in previous posts) found a fantastic home where she is loved and spoiled, and last I heard she was doing very well there!  And I don't have black hair to deal with around the house...another bonus.  Sadie and Addie are so very different from each other and most days they get along like sisters, but they seem to be good friends.

Sadie (6 yrs old now!) seems to be the alpha most days (after me of course!)... she gets fed first, and barges right in and throws her weight around when she really wants something.  She will indeed knock Addie right out of the way to get it.  But she also listens and obeys better, and is the one who is more in-tune with people around her, instead of loving everyone just because they are alive.  She is one dog who can truly hold a grudge.  Not every dog can...especially not lab/golden mixes...but Sadie can!  Sadie was 1 1/2 yrs when I got her off of a farm close to my parent's home.  She had been neglected quite a bit and did not seem bonded to her owners at all.  A few years ago when I was back visiting my parents, we were outside by the car, and Sadie's former owner rode by on a horse with one of her friends.  I could hear them talking together and the girl who had once owned Sadie asked her friend... "Is that Kate?"  (That was Sadie's name before I got her).  They both looked but Sadie NEVER acknowledged them...didn't even look at them, so they rode off thinking it must not have been her.  Here's what I know about Sadie... She ALWAYS knows who is around her, and doesn't just ignore people.  She usually looks and barks if she wants to.  The fact that she did not even look at them is more telling than anything else.  Yes, she knew exactly who they were, and she did not like them.  She was, however, very interested in saying hi to the dog who was with them, whom she seemed to recognize.  It really made me wonder if it was one of her puppies.  But when they left, and their dog followed them, she did not, but stuck very close to me instead.


Addie, on the other hand, is all dog...she is 4 years old now, and while she is starting to turn white around her mouth and eyes, she still acts like a puppy!  She has the sweetest body waggle that she can't contain when someone she loves comes over!  She is happy to be alive, loves everyone who looks at her, and is my stubborn little drama queen.  She is accident prone sometimes (maybe because she doesn't think of consequences like Sadie seems to), so when I have her out on the mountain and she runs like crazy, she also comes home with injured pads on her feet, and sore muscles that make it impossible for her to pee for a period of time (24 hours being the longest so far).  She is a bit OCD, and likes patterns and things a certain way.  She likes to "walk" herself by carrying her own leash if I will let her.  She also likes a baby (stuffed animal) or bone in her mouth for security when she needs it.  Consequently, she will often be found sleeping with at least 3 or 4 babies all around her.  While she doesn't get the first bone - that goes to Sadie, she is very observant, and waits for Sadie to take her eyes off of her bone for a minute, and next thing I know, Addie has both bones, and Sadie has none.  She will also sleep with them instead of consuming them right away like Sadie does...then she has one later when Sadie is all out of them.  She chases bubbles, light beams, and used to bring snails inside to play with later (thank goodness she got over that after her first year!)...and she loves to play with kids!  I had left them once at my friend's home with their 3 young girls, and when I came back to get them, Sadie came right away.  When I couldn't find Addie, I walked upstairs to see her sitting as one of the members forming a circle, playing dress-up with the kids.  She was wearing a cape, and sitting at a tea-party with them!  She just looked up at me like she wasn't ready to come home yet!  She also plays hide and seek with the can put her on a "sit/stay" and go hide anywhere...then call her when you are hidden and she will look until she finds you.  She's pretty good at it, and absolutely LOVES it!  Anything that keeps her involved with everyone is what she wants to do.

 They are such sweet pups, and have added a dimension to my life that I am thankful for, even with the added responsibility. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Most Days...

Most days I am happy to be alive.  I feel productive, useful and energetic, and I recognize that I am blessed beyond measure.

Most days I am settled in my current life.  I recognize that I made a choice years ago to be single when I left my husband, and I knew that decision could mean that I may be single for a very long time...maybe always.  I was happy with the decision, because I was so unhappy with the alternative.  I have never doubted that decision.

Most days I love being alone...I love time to myself, controlling the remote, choosing what I want for dinner, choosing what to do with my time, working on my own projects and cleaning up after myself when I want to.  I like picking my own clothes up off the floor, doing my own laundry, not having to clean the house every single day, and the joy of running to the grocery store and back within 30 minutes!  I even enjoy days sometimes when I don't have to talk to anyone.

Most days I am patient and understanding.  I truly do understand when something comes up, or when a grocery line takes a long time to get through, or when things don't go as planned.  I am resourceful, quick to find alternatives, or patient through the process.  I know what to do and can offer help, knowing that sometimes that is not always what someone needs, and that's ok.  I have no problem standing down and going back to my own plans.

Most days I can do it all, and sometimes even impress myself in the process!

Then there are some days...when I do not feel wanted / needed / loved.  When the burdens of being alone seem to stack up higher than the advantages.  When it seems monumental that the responsibility of providing for myself and my pups financially, emotionally and physically is too much.  When I can't keep the house clean enough and the yard taken care of, when I can't catch up with school work, and when I just don't seem to ever have enough of a break to recover.  When working takes so much energy, and driving takes so much time, and walking the dogs even seems hard.

Some days I feel so completely alone...with no one to talk to or share the burden with at the end of the day.  When I go to the one place that always welcomes me without fail, and find that I feel forgotten even there.  Sometimes on these days I book a massage or hair appointment just to feel the touch of another person, even if I have to pay them.

Some days, the dog coming in and putting her head on my knee can bring me to tears, because I feel like she cares when it doesn't feel like anyone else does.  (This only happens with one of my dogs -- the other one disappears when she can tell I'm sad!  Her life is all about her!)

Some days I just want a friend to talk to, to interact with, to help me not feel so completely alone in the world.

Thank goodness Some Days don't happen very often!!!  Most days I would be embarrassed to post and admit to this...which will probably happen tomorrow!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back to School

This time it took almost 3 weeks into the new semester before I started to feel overwhelmed with it all... My other semesters have been pretty easy - minimal homework - etc, so I started this semester really optimistic.  But something about three intense classes that are pretty important - Pathophysiology, Advanced Physical Assessment, and Pharmacology - all at the same time is making me start to feel overwhelmed.

My lawn needs to be mowed, house needs to be cleaned, dogs need to be walked, and I am finding time to put school first.  I guess that's what matters the most right now, and I get the dogs out as often as I can.  The rest cleans up fast when I have a little downtime.

I finally picked the fruit and veggies from the garden today, and got 4 zucchini, 6-ish tomatoes, 2 green peppers, 4 eggplants, and a LOT of strawberries!  Such a blessing to have the garden...I hope I can keep up with it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thoughts while gardening...

So this year I planted my first real garden ever. Why? Because the home I'm renting has planter boxes in the back yard. It really is that simple. One of them is filled with the best strawberry plants I have seen, which produce the sweetest strawberries ever! They are so popular among the wildlife, that I had to build a creative little lid (out of chicken wire) so the birds don't eat them all. Since the chicken wire lid is a nuisance to remove, I have let that box go for the last couple of weeks, making much of my initial weeding and prepping efforts appear to have been in vain. Last night, the crab-grass and vines which had been under control were starting to grow taller than the strawberry plants, and I could no longer peek through the chicken wire and see the ripe strawberries to be picked. Clearly it was time to weed!

As I was weeding and picking strawberries, I realized that the process was a metaphor for my life. The other two boxes are beautiful and growing like crazy. I water all three every day, and often pick lettuce and peas out of the other two boxes without difficulty. Those are also easiest to weed, and have more purposeful plants than weeds growing in them because I am good at tending to them...they are not particularly difficult to get to. The strawberries, however, are in a larger box so the task appears more daunting, and are covered with the chicken wire, making them harder to get to. I usually scratch myself at least once while trying to get in. Consequently, I don't keep up on the weeding as much, and I don't always pick the fruit when it is in its prime. While I still water it, and pretend I have a great garden, that part is often forgotten when I just don't feel like I have the time or energy to deal with it.

I find the same difficulties in dealing with certain problems in my life. Tending to the easier areas in life gets done more frequently and those areas often look fantastic! However, some things just seem painful to deal with. I don't feel like I have the time or energy, the task seems more daunting, and sometimes I get hurt getting to it. It is easier to ignore those areas, or let them go and think no one will ever notice. But when looking at the overall picture, it is worth taking the time to occasionally clean those areas out, or make peace, so the overall product can be thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes without tending those areas, we miss the sweetest fruit!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Yes, I'm still alive!

Ok reading back over this made me laugh at so many of the things that were happening a few years ago! While much of my life has changed, some things are still the same, and I love it! I have been thinking of blogging again, but when I saw that Vlad was working on his again, I knew I had to start too! So while I don't have much to say this morning, I will be watching for the fun stories to post again soon!