Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Time to Reflect

The week between Christmas and New Year is when I reflect on the whole year. 
What do I remember enjoy doing? 
What were my challenges and how did I tackle them? 
Do I have 'stuff' that needs to be taken into the next year to resolve? 
Do I like where I am at the end of the year?
Are there adjustments I want to make this coming year?

The other morning I woke up with a study plan swarming my mind.  I knew it was a spinoff from all the focus I had on costumes for months.  Absorbed in the task of creating Biblical costumes I wondered if I lost sight of the main goal, the life of Jesus Christ.  Did I get so bogged down in creating angel sashes that I forgot about serving others?  I tried using a church study guide but felt dissatisfied and frustrated by the way it was headed.  I believe that my relationship with Christ is very personal and needs improvement.  I am setting up my own study guide for the areas that I know need improvement. 

My relationship with DH improved when I was swamped with costumes and most of the other sewing ladies quit, DH stepped up and sewed for three day for Thanksgiving.  He also made sure I ate for weeks.  We were a team it was awesome.

My health is in limbo.  I am waiting for test to be done in a few months to find out what a tumor is doing on my thyroid.  If it is slow growing, do I mind hanging out with a growing lump on my throat?

My diet changed by stopping eating soy.  For years, I would choke at least once a week on something I was eating.  I've been to the hospital 4 different times in the last 20 years because food was stuck in my throat.  Last January, I landed in the emergency room again.  This was the first time I was told I had a strong allergic reaction to something.  The doctor gave me a high power tier 3 medication to keep my throat open but no intention to find out what was causing the reaction in the first place.  I stopped seeing him.  Allergy tests didn't show anything.  I went with the one food that I knew in the past could cause problems in large quantities, soy.  I worked at eliminating it from my diet.  3 months without soy and I am seeing all sorts of changes I was not expecting.  Swelling in my legs is gone.  Stiffness that I thought was old age is also gone.  I feel better most of the time.  It didn't solve every health problem but it is nice to eat and not choke on my food.  Interesting thing now is all I have to do is have a tiny bit of soy and I start choking within 15 minutes.  I thought I could get away with a little bit, nope.  It is stop eating or choke because my esophagus shuts.  I think soy and I are done.  Permanent life style change. 

My work changed again.  I've worked at the same school for 7 years.  All 7 years my assignments changed.  Different classes but I realize it is all the same work.  My job is to help the teacher and students achieve their goals.  I am part of the support team.  I am working hard at better understanding needs of students and teachers so I can be of the greatest help possible.  This year networking was added to early childhood education and fashion.  I am learning Python, my fourth computer language.  I am enjoying the challenge in spite of the fact that I don't really like programming. 

My sleep sucks.  I think that one is going at the top of my list to improve.  Sleep is a beautiful thing and I am having a terrible time sleeping when I should, falling asleep when I shouldn't, and struggling to sleep peacefully once I am asleep.  Yup, taking this one into next year to head up the top of my health improvements list of changes. 

Lumosity is improving. It tracks my brain training.  It takes only about 20 minutes 5-7 times a week.  I am remembering things better.  I can focus better.  I like the improvements I am seeing.  It is on my continue doing list. 

I will work through a lot more as I ponder this week on where I want to head for 2018. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Survived Christmas

If you are reading this, you survived Christmas.  Congratulations.  Well done.  Happy Dance......

364 days until Christmas. 

I remember talking with my sister when she shared her experience in counseling.  She told her therapist about a particular event and the she congradulated my sister for surviving.  My sister responded, "But I wanted to do it with more Grace."

Some days, surviving with or with out Grace is a good day. 

When I was at my worse with PTSD, I could be up only 20 minutes a day.  A friend asked me what a good day was.  My quick response, "I got up."  She waited.  I stared...."No, that's it, I got up. A great day I got up and got dressed." 

Bask in the glow of making it through the day with or without Grace.  You did it. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

To Santa lovers, this is a magical night of speedy delivery of EPIC proportions. 
To the lonely, it is a time of ultimate lonesomeness.
To non-Christian, it may mean just another night.
To the retailer, sales are up and prospects look good.
To a child, it is whatever the parents or care-givers make to be.

Visions of sugar plums don't dance in every kids head.  Plans for survival crowd out magic and mystery.  A few blink with wonder at all they behold.  Others cringe in fear for another cruel blow.

Christmas Eve draped in expectations and wonder or wrapped in sorrow and sadness. 

Years ago, I watched a version of Scrooge/A Christmas Carol that affected me deeply.  Beneath the robes of Christmas present cringe two frightened children - Want and Ignorance.  I tried to find the one I remember seeing....this was the best I could do.

Tattered, starving, hopeless these two, not the magical Christmas image that many demand for their 'perfect' holiday.  

Preparing Christmas for our children challenged me to find something to meet their needs and a few of their wants.  Always in the back of my mind are the Christmas gifts that simply missed the mark.  Others were deliberate choices of 'You want it, you can't have it.'  As an adult remembering these painful gifts, I would agonize that I didn't become the same.  How I often I was told that like mother like child.  No way.  I wasn't going to do that.  I still messed up and doubled and tripled my self-condemnation.  Now with Grandchildren, I want to give what meets needs and wants and bring delight to little faces.  At times I miss and a child is disappointed.  I fret and worry how to make amends.  No easy task with a wide variety of ages and interests and some I don't know very well. 

Lingering at the back of my mind are the waifs hidden in the robes of Christmas present.  Each year I try to do a little to help but feel like I fall woefully short.  I am Christian.  I do pray for guidance.  The miracle is at times I do get it right much to the chagrin of their parents.  Three year old little boys love flashing lights of police cars with wailing sirens.  I share gifts with strangers or people I barely know.  Yet stumped by those nearest and dearest to me.  Some times money just doesn't fill the need.  A Christmas Carol or sometimes called Scrooge conjures up the nightmares that haunt Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future.  I change my attitude and perspective of my past.  I focus on serving other and hope for the best in the present.  I allow Christmas Future to hang out by itself because I have more than enough on my plate for today. 

Whatever Christmas is to you, I pray that tonight you feel a bit of peace and God's love for you.

Merry Christmas. 

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Less than a week before Christmas the tree choice makes Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree look magnificent.  Undaunted I tested every tree.  I touched the needles and the collapsed into my hand.  Not a good choice.  However, in the clearance section there were live Christmas trees, Italian Stone Pines to be exact.  Two of them.  I only needed one.  So I am treed and decorated.  The angel topper I usually use stands centennial over my little tree.  Nice thing about it, doesn't take long to decorate.  DH said the presents wouldn't fit under the tree.  The presents are all in a big box so I put the tree on the box.  Ta Da the presents fit under the tree. 

Reminder to prepare of big events:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tree or not to tree

At this late date, this is my question.  Thanksgiving was totally swallowed up by costumes for a Christmas Pageant.  Finishing up washing the costumes for storage is well on its way to swallowing Christmas too.  What is wrong with this situation besides everything.  I am deciding if I want a tree or not.  I figure at this late date, I may as well has a live tree which dries out very fast in a heated house.  I also deciding if I want to be in our city parade.  Our school is an A+ school and an area bank wants to feature our employees walking in the parade.  I decided against that one.  I'm proud of our school but have zero desire to walk in a parade.  So one decision down one to go.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Why this? Why now?

I did not intend to take an extended break from blogging to create the costumes for a show last week.  Why did it happen if it was not my intention?

I saved Todd Bauerle's video about 'You MUST know your why' back in October, before costumes consumed my life.  I watched it tonight and gave me time to pause and think, "Why am I doing what I am doing?"

If I didn't intend to let the costumes consume my life for 2 months how did it happen?  What was my why? 

One of the things that I noticed while helping at a high school that too often events happen and we go with the flow without thinking too much about why we are doing it.  Or why we are doing thing this particular way?  I am impressed that the teachers emphasize reflecting on projects after they are done.  DH and I pondered today what did I get out of this all consuming immersion into the world of costumes.  Todd reminded me again to consider my why.....

I started out in the adventure with 5 other women.  I wasn't alone.  Then one by one they dropped out until by Thanksgiving only one lady was helping me at a pace that would not get the costumes done in time for the show, so why did I keep going?  Why didn't I throw up my hands and say "This is too much to do alone." Why this?  Why now?

I know part of the answer lies in what my counselor calls my do-or-die attitude.  He noticed that when I feel like I have to do something I will even if it kills me.  I destroyed my health more than once trying to do impossible tasks.  So part of my why is I said I would deliver costumes by Dec 7 so I delivered by Dec 7.  Do or die.

(Side not:  My counselor recommended that I lose my do-or-die attitude.  I thought about this for a moment.  I replied, "If I didn't have that attitude, I would have died."  He knows my whole history, he pondered about what he knew about me and understood I wasn't exaggerating.  He nodded, "Your right, you would have died."  Then he recommended a dimmer switch to dial it down a bit.)

I did try to lower my expectations, I delegated projects to other people, and planned and worked on the project every day.  But it wasn't enough when most of the others quit.  Another hurdle was a director that behaved as many directors do, demanding impossible then changing their mind and wanting a different impossible.  (That part is still bugging me....I need to cut that lose the show is over now.)  Another part was I prayed about volunteering and I felt the answer to my prayer was to do this.  I am a firm believer that when the Lord asks you to do something, He will open a way for it to happen.  (Example, when Moses took the people of Israel out of bondage, they had the Red Sea on one side and the Egyptian army on the other.  The people walked through the Red Sea on dry land....scientist are still trying to find an explanation for that one.)  I tackled the rest to be done with two thoughts in mind:
1. God makes impossible into I'm possible.
2. I can't fix this.  Truly, I can't fix other people's choices, I can't fix unreasonable expectations, I can't fix what needed to be done. 

Reflection what did I learn from this:

1. The Lord provides in places I least expect.
2. DH has my back.  For three days of Thanksgiving break, I cut and he sewed costumes.  He is awesome.
3. I can put my perfectionism aside and allow other to express their ideas while setting limits.  Yup, I set boundaries and then let people be flexible within those boundaries. 
4.  I can't fix other people's choices but their choices do not need to set me off track of what I feel I need to do. People quit but the costumes were finished anyway.  (A big THANK YOU to my sister who spent countless hours helping me organize all the costumes.) 
5.  Expressing my needs other people stepped out of their comfort zone to help. 

Why did I do it?  I felt that the answer to my prayer was, 'Do it.'  The Lord made sure it happened.  I am relieved that it is almost over.  I mended the last costumes that needed repairs after the show.  I washed the last load of costumes.  Only thing left is waiting for boxes to put these costumes into storage for someone else to do if they ever decide to do it again. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Final showing

After months of preparation, frustration and a ton of work the 2 performances are upon us.  Then clean up and washing costumes and returning borrowed items and and and and and and .....

I watched the musical tonight Savior of the World put on by our Church tonight, final dress rehearsal. 

Two nights and then it is done.  I'm so ready to be done.