Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dreaming of spreading the love

Ever wonder what you would do with $24 million dollars? I have. My Mom and I would make lists of things we would do. We'd let our inner Mother Teresa out and let her fly.

Things like:
- All expense trip for the entire family to some fabulous location
- Take $1 million and make a list of the top 100 people in your life and give them each $10k. Invite them each out to lunch and ask them what they would do if suddenly they had ten thousand dollars.  Then watch the look on their face when they got handed the money.  Pure joy!
- Take 51% off the top and create an investment portfolio. Take the money earned and make charitable donations to needy organizations/people, like:
   o  Dig water wells in Africa
   o  Feed hungry children in the USA
   o  Put some students through med school in exchange for providing ten years of medical care to a rural area
   o  Finance some Cadence missionaries
   o  Finance legislation that allows the US to process our own recyclable materials instead of shipping our trash to Japan/China
   o  Create a scholarship for religious education
   o  Pay the mortgage of some deserving families or put a roof on their house
   o  Make micro loans to women around the world
   o  Build a few small homes for the elderly that offer free quality care
   o  Give away American flags to those who desire them and will fly them
   o  Create a lunch bag program for street people
   o  Fund some health clinics
   o  Tithe to a church
   o  Give a hundred people a thousand dollars each with the caveat that they must then gift $200 to someone else they do not know and watch the energy flow

- Buy a house for my sister, brother, niece, nephews, and son.
- Build a cabin with wind/solar power off the grid.
- Put a few of my son's friends through college.

What an incredible opportunity it would be to "pay it forward".

What would you do with $24 million? Let your love of people shine!

Friday, November 4, 2011

What's wrong with me?

I'm fifty-six and overweight. Can't change my age but I sure can do something about my weight.


I do nothing. Why?

I have a dream for a cabin and no job. Unwilling to change my dream and not getting a job. Why?

My immediate answer is "It should be easier than this." I get motivated and eat healthy. I get motivated and apply for jobs. Consistent for a short period of time and then I quit. Why?

Is it because I just want it all handed to me?

Immediate weight loss without any effort. Without illness or the loss of a limb. Weight loss that gets me to a hot looking 162 lbs. Weight loss that has me move effortlessly. That allows me to ride a bike or snow shoe with my husband. Wear fabulous funky Renee inspired clothes. Boots! Why isn't my desire for these things enough to make it happen? What's missing in me?

A cabin built miraculously by someone else as a gift for me? What's missing that despite dreaming about owning a cabin since I was seventeen isn't enough to push me to get a job?  A cabin I've designed, drawn, redrawn a million times. I own the land! I've walked it and placed the cabin. Dreamt about it. Torn magazine pictures out of features I'd like in the cabin fill a scrapbook. Why isn't my desire for my dream enough to make it happen? Don't I really desire it?

Tears threaten to drop. I read a letter from my Mom to me when I was in my early twenties. "Stop living in this dream world of yours!" Why?

I'm not afraid of hard work. I've done plenty of hard work. Nothing stopped me from building my deck. Nothing stopped me from getting my first SUV. Nothing stopped me from being a Mom.

Why am I stopped now?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Religion - to psychic or not

Interesting how the Bible is interpreted. So my niece asks me for the name of a psychic. I give her one. Then I share with another friend that I did that and the debate began.

"You can't do that. It's against what the Bible teaches!", she asserts. I am confounded. "How is it against God?", I ask. "It's all throughout the Bible about false prophets and divination.", she replies.

Doubt sets in. My father always said that the Bible is a book that man is interpreting and my interpretation is just as valid as another man. That's why I read/study and search for answers.

I think some things are interpreted to suit whatever teachings a particular church has or sometimes are interpreted out of fear. Fear of things they cannot explain logically or of things they don't understand.

Do I understand why my friend sees and hears dead people? No I don't.
Do I think she is crazy?  No. I don't.
Do I think she is faking?  No I don't.
Do I think she sees/hears dead people? I think she does.

She gets messages from them and passes them along. Believe it or not!

Another friend lights incense and candles, calms her mind and opens herself up to hear. Another friend lights candles and reads tarot cards.

I consider the gifts that my friends have as being from God. They do not prophesy about God, they prophesy about me. About what might happen in my future. Not one psychic has ever tried to convert me to follow another god or believe anything else.

So I opened my Bible, looked under topical "curiosity", and found this:
'"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, AND he says "Let us now follow other Gods (gods you have not known) and let us worship them" you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer."' Deuteronomy 13:1-3

No psychic I've ever been to has ever told me or led me to believe in another god. So someone out there is interpreting that if they can tell the future they are evil. Their messages are evil.  Really?

Well according to the Bible. Yes.

"I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and will cut them off from his people."  "A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them, their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20: 6, 27

I've found my answer and once again I don't like it. I'm reminded about the last time I heard something in a sermon that did not sit well with my beliefs. I told God that I needed an answer and not "because I said so" wouldn't suffice.

A few days later as I was walking the dogs, talking to God, and crying about this, I heard God say to me, "I never said you would like it."

Well just so you know Lord, I don't like this one either.  I'm adding it to my list of questions when I see you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's the small things...

So here I am.  Dogs at my feet. Potato soup simmering. It's cold outside. Snow has melted from the trees and streets, yet lingers on the lawns like slow release water. Mother Earth has to be happy with a good gentle soaking. Preparing for the long winter ahead.

I am present to the small things.

Like what a difference a ham bone makes in the soup. How leeks add just a hint of mellow onion. That a bay leaf rounds it out. Of course chunks of ham don't hurt either.

Present to how my house feels clean if my bed is made and the sink is empty of dirty dishes.

How I feel organized when I see my towels neatly folded/stacked in the linen closet -- all the folds facing the same direction.

How the light filtering through the leaves makes me smile. Bags of leaves leaning against the back fence waiting to be composted remind me of my garden and how happy I am to plant things and watch them grow. Finding a year end deal on pear trees ($5 each), planting/watering/watching them take hold makes a broad satisfied grin smear across my face.

Or how just a little Baileys in my coffee makes it seem all the more special. Making my own Baileys, loading up pint jars, putting a ribbon with a personal note on each jar, and anticipating the look in people's eye when they get a coveted jar warms me.

Finding the perfect under $10 gift for a family member, secret sister, or friend. Baking my shortbread cookies, drizzling them with mint chocolate, and sprinkling them with chopped walnuts. Packaging them in clear cellophane bags, tying them up with ribbon, and hot gluing an acorn to each is so satisfying.

Writing a letter on pretty paper. Noticing how the ink glides across the page.  Sharing my thoughts with my friends. Getting a card or letter in the mail -- pure heaven.

Yes it's the small things. How each time I pass Jack (my cattle dog/lab mix) he licks my foot. It's like he's saying I love you each time I pass and, even though I don't particularly like it, I am reminded of his unconditional love.

How each time we go to bed, my hubby brings me a fresh glass of water. Or how when I pass him, he reaches for me and demands a hug. Yes, it's the small things that make a big life!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Numbing out and nails.

Escaping from what? My thoughts? My fears? I think I've just held on for long enough and need a break. A break from all that crap that runs around in my mind.  Actually there isn't much running about in my mind, right now.

I think all the food has finally done the trick. The banana this morning, then two pieces of cinnamon toast, then the leftover potato chips, about a dozen chocolate chip cookies, and a half gallon of butter pecan ice cream. Then I guzzled tonic water -- love the bitter taste.

I'm in Salt Lake City house sitting for some friends who are in Hawaii. They have two sweet dogs -- Kelly and Max. They also have two cats -- Grady and Micki Blue Eyes. All animals seem to be adjusting to their parents being gone.

It's a beautiful day outside. Bright blue, 50 degrees, sun shining. Dogs are lounging on the lawn. Kitty cats are sleeping in their beds. I'm blogging. I did do my nails -- right after I chewed them off. They are now a uniform shape and have a coat of clear polish. They'll grow out nicely. Wonder what I was nervous about when I chewed them off?

Speaking of nails, yesterday I gave a good friend a pedicure. Then his Mother exhibited signs of jealousy (his interpretation). Interesting familial relationships. We read people we know like books. The problem with books (I adore them by the way) is that they are open to interpretation and imagination. We imagine the words and add to them by associating our memories with them. She's 84 and forgetful. Yesterday she exhibited a willful young side. I offered to give her a pedicure as well. Not so surprisingly her mood shifted.

I used to give my mother manicures and pedicures. Older people don't take good care of their feet or skin. I think it's because they can't see that well or reach their feet. It's amazing what a little pampering will do for one's mood. She was exhilarated afterward. Her nails were clipped and shaped. Lotion was massaged into her feet and hands. An hour and a half of visiting and she felt special.

I like making people feel special. It's easy when you pay attention. Didn't cost anything but time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Guilt - Is it really necessary?

So life has gotten in the way the last two days. Really? No!

Life doesn't get in anyone's way. It can't.  We (me) use it as an excuse. I'm really good at that. An expert you might say. I've perfected my technique over the last forty-five years.  I bet I've spent more time practicing excuses than anything else in my life. Not that I've counted or kept track.

Well actually I have kept track the last three days. Primarily because I declared publicly that I would write in this blog every day for a year. Well I did not write yesterday or the day before.

Lots of reasons.

Packing for a trip to Salt Lake City,
attending bible study,
loading horse manure into the truck,
unloading and spreading said horse manure into my garden,
doing laundry,
cleaning the kitchen (doing dishes 4x),
going to the DMV for the third time (ack!),
returning a DVD to a friend,
going to the bank,
cleaning house,
taking my honey to school,
printing boarding passes,
feeding the dogs,
paying the bills,
returning calls,
going to the library and checking out books on Ronald Reagan (I will explain this one another day),
cleaning out the refrigerator

Doesn't it sound like I was busy? I got a lot of things done BUT I did not keep my promise to write. I had time. I watched three hours of Doc Marten streaming on my Mac. I definitely had time. My excuse was that I was running around getting all that done that by the time I got home I deserved a rest. And nothing helps me relax more than watching mindless television. Well that's not true, I could smoke pot (don't do that anymore), drink (don't really enjoy the after affects), eat (my ass does not need anymore padding), or I could write.

Here's a thought -- I could do something productive and honor my word at the same time. Yet, I chose watching a cranky doctor alienate those around him for three hours.  Interesting what I do to escape. The whole time while I was watching the show, I was acutely aware of all the other stuff I had to do. I rationalized that I would get it all done before we left the following day on the airplane. AND I did!

Not without some drama but hey sometimes that drives me to succeed. Just like a good dose of guilt drives me to succeed. So to answer my question, guilt is it really necessary? I say yes. In small doses and applied appropriately -- guilt works.

Now to just not develop it to an art form.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 3 - What to Write About?

What do I write about today? It's the third day of my quest to write every day.  What enlightening thing can I share today?

How about that a dear friend of mine - my best friend is on the brink of choosing to become a cloistered nun. Yup. That's right. Cloistered nun.

Cloistered as in no one from the outside can come in. AND She cannot go out. No personal possessions. A life of spiritual devotion and prayer. I am moved to tears when I think about her commitment to the world, to all people, and mostly her commitment to God.

Now let me tell you -- this woman has lived! Lived and loved. Had many adventures -- a lot more than me! I tell you that she has run the gamut from farm girl, to young nun, to lesbian, to funeral planner, to protector of children and more.  She has a zest for life. A boisterous laugh. A huge heart. Lots of opinions. She's made love to more men than me and that's saying something.

She raps. She went from helping people die to helping people live.  Entertained them with her humor. Cried with them over their heartache, their frailties, their vulnerabilities. She's helped hundreds of people (young and old) transform their lives and now she'll pray for all of us. Even the ones she doesn't know. She'll pray and carry on the habit of another nun by sprinkling holy water. My friend won't sprinkle to the four corners of a room but symbolically over a small treasured snow globe of the world. She'll pray for the protection of the world. She'll pray for me and you.

In the meantime, before she officially commits she'll begin letting go of material things. Letting go of her coca cola collection, her Christmas decorations, her dishes, books, artifacts, pictures, plants, her snow globe, and her beloved Molly. Letting go of the need for material things. Letting go of the need for going to the movies, taking a trip anywhere, going camping, watching her nieces/nephews play sports or sing in a recital. No driving. No long phone calls catching up on the events of the day. No more dinners with her sister but dinners with other sisters.

Once she has paid her debts, she'll go in. She says it'll be awhile. But it's already happened. She's committed, she's just not moved in yet. That's all. I can hear it in her voice. Peace, joy, and purpose. A sense of ease and serenity permeates her voice.

She wants to say she's afraid, but fear occurs only with the absence of God. And she knows that God is with her - always. He is with us all.

I am the one who is afraid. I am sad that I will not hear her voice daily. See caller ID with her name. I'll miss not being able to verbally share my life with her, have her hear me, and get her coaching. I'll have to share her with the world. Fortunate world! Wonder what her nun name will be. How fortunate am I to have her on my side?

I will perfect my letter writing. She's a terrible letter writer (well I assume she is since I've never gotten one). Maybe I'll give her self addressed stamped post cards -- the kind my Mom included in my bags when I went to camp. 

Having a good time. Talked to God today. Wish you were here. Love you.