The End Is Nigh

I AM ABSOLUTELY AMAZED at how smooth this month has gone.  Well, I mean to say, considering I’ve procrastinated like never before and there was a major holiday smack dab in the middle of it, I find that I am energized, full of ideas, have time to post quite a few blogs and still take the time to work on — and am almost at the completion point of, my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project.

That’s 50,000 words in 30 days…though I squandered nearly half of the month, writing a little here and there, blogging here and there, with life taking up the lion’s share of each day.  That is, until last week.  I have dishes stacked in the sink, laundry that needs to be done, my cat has to bat me about the face to get my attention and my dog simply sulks and the chickens just have no clue.

Oh, they all get fed, me included, but that’s about it.  I have occasionally changed the kitty litter — Sebastian has a rather unique way of reminding me.  When it “time”, I suddenly notice that there is so much litter on the floor surrounding the box, it makes me wonder if there is any left inside.  When I check, I realize I have, once again, been a bad kitty mom and do my duty…

My dishes are tilting rather precariously, so it is time, once again to don the gloves and scrub them up so I can return to using metal rather than plastic utensils.  The plates seem to be holding up well, but bowls are in short supply.  So, since I’m scrubbing, I’ll end up taking care of those too.  If there’s an earthquake before I get this job done, I won’t need to do dishes…they are all going to crash to the floor.  Then it’ll be broom-time.  Oh, dear.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Just so you know what it’s like when someone gets so focused on what they are doing that everything other than the focus item becomes inconsequential.  At least to a degree.

Do you have someone like that in your life?  Someone so focused, that you get left in the dust?

Thankfully, I was blessed with a fairly normal husband and daughter.  So was I…note the past tense.  I find I get much more focused on things nowadays.  But, then, it’s just me, so there’s nobody else in the house to complain.

I enjoy what I do so much, that I could spend hours upon hours working on a project, whether photography, printing artwork, or writing, and completely forget about eating, or taking medicine.  Thank God for the iPhone alarms…I have one set for doctor appointments and other important events in my life, for medication times — haven’t set one for meals, but that’s mostly because I take my medicines around meal times (makes it easier to remember).  But even with the alarms, if I’m in the middle of something, I either ignore the alarm (that’s 15 minutes of jangling in my ear) or get up, turn it off and go right back to whatever I was doing.  And forget about the alarm or what I was supposed to do when the alarm goes off.

So, I can see how someone can get completely consumed by something and forget things and people around them.  But, in my case, it’s not a big deal.  There is no family that I am ignoring.  Well, they are only animals, after all, right?  Even now, my NaNo project is calling to me.  It wants me to leave this ( “– just save it and come back to it,” it says) and return to the writing.

My “animals” are my family.  They need my attention, almost as much as my daughter did when she was a youngster.  Right now, they are getting the basics:  food, water, “good girl” or “good boy”, a few special treats and that’s it.  I know they should be getting more, but I also know that this ignoring them will be short lived, even if they don’t know it.  And, to keep the guilt away, I choose to dwell on that.

Well, I have a little over 4,000 words to write and a tad more than two days to meet the 50,000 word challenge that makes NaNoWriMo what it is, so my ramblings are done for now.

May you find that your focus is family and not things.   For family is where your heart should be.  Peace of the Season to all of you.



Oh, Bother…

Well, it is the day after Thanksgiving Day and the dust has settled.

My body has finally stopped groaning at all of the food I consumed.  No, it wasn’t the quantity in total, it was what I ate.

I have spent the last year trying to lose weight and have been successful — almost thirty pounds, and I still need to lose quite a bit more for health reasons.  I am confident that I will succeed — eventually.

I’ve made some major changes in what I eat, how much I eat and when I eat — even what I keep in the house, because I do know my limits & don’t want to tempt myself.  Also, I space out my “treats” with a minimum of multiple days between so my body can readjust.  So, if I eat out, then I always make sure there are at least three days between before I do anything else special.  But there are some nasty little habits that pop up at the most unexpected times.

I guess, my will power needs a major overhaul.  Yesterday, my wonderful son-in-law, bless his heart, suggested that we have some of the pumpkin pie while we waited for the turkey to be ready.  We were playing a game of cards and it was mid morning…breakfast was eaten hours ago and we hadn’t planned on eating our main meal till 2-3pm, so why not.  That was not the will power problem.

My son-in-law brought out a monster slice (each piece turned out to be one-sixth of the entire Costco pie) for each of us.  Mind you, there were only three of us.  Again, this isn’t so much the will power problem.

“What–not the problem?” you ask.

Nope.  Not the problem.  You see, though it was a very, very large piece of very high calorie food, I had decided that I would not have any more after dinner.  Good for me.


Well, I was even a good girl all the way through dinner.  Not too much stuffing.  Not too much of my cherished, calorie-laden family recipe of sour cream mashed potatoes.  And I was full, but not overly stuffed like I have been in past years.  I felt great.  Pat on the back.  Good girl!

After dinner, we cleaned up & put stuff away, played more cards, watched a couple videos, chatted and just had a marvelous day.  Then, when the traditional “dessert time” came, I conveniently forgot what I had promised myself.  To make it worse (I would love to be able to blame my son-in-law),  I was the one to go in and serve up the dessert.  I cannot blame anyone but myself for the size of the slices that I cut.  I duplicated the previous serving size for everyone, and with a great big smile on my face, served everyone up.

And I ate the whole blasted piece.  It did taste extremely good.  I should have stopped when I was feeling full, but the desire for the taste kept me going.  I think I actually forced myself to eat the last bite.  “Good girl.  Clean the plate,” echoed in my mind from my childhood.

Oh.  That makes two problems.  Will power and old, old habits.  I think they gang up on me when I’m in a weakened state.   Since I had caved-in to buying pizza (with a salad, thank you) the night before Thanksgiving, then had my huge meal the next day, I broke one more of my rules…not putting space between “treats”.  So, now we’re up to three!  Ho, boy!

So, today is re-group day.  I know better than to trust the scale today — it said I only gained a little over a pound…it’s usually day two that is more accurate, so I need to be extremely careful today.  And for the next week.

There are left 0vers in the refrigerator.  Not much, thankfully.  I was able to halve everything, so my daughter and son-in-law took a fair amount out of the house.  And, there is NO more pie.  Yes!  This is a very good thing.  I will go back to my normal way of life…until Christmas.

Oh, bother.  (I can hear Pooh Bear in my head anytime I say that and it makes me chuckle!)

The holidays are truly a mixed bag.  So many treasures abound — time with family, wonderful aromas flooding back memories of times gone by…delightful time of the year.

Yet, so many little land mines to dance around.  All that food that only comes out at Thanksgiving and Christmas — oh, yes…and Easter  (and for other faiths, there are other days, too).  Obviously family, the memories, all of the reasons to be thankful for the season far outweigh those little land mines.

But still, for someone battling with weight problems, it is a hard fought war.  So, if you are in the midst of the battle, as I am, take heart.  For every battle, there will be some losses, but the war will be won if you keep your heart and mind in the right place.  Dust yourself off when you fall, pick yourself back up and carry on.  That’s what I plan on doing.

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, full of memories to cherish — and now, brace yourself for Christmas.  Enjoy the season.  Know the true reason we celebrate it and cherish it.  Breathe.  Love.  Concentrate on what is important.

I know I’ll make it through, and so will you.

Thankful for Memories and Life

WELL, IN AGES PAST, as a child, each of us owned one chicken (hens…no roosters, thank you), a pigeon and a goose.  I adored my little Henny Penny. I believe she was a bantam Buff Orpington,  but I’m just going from recollection.

My dad loved animals and I definitely shared that love then–and now. During our childhood, various critters came under our care. Hens, rabbits, pigeons, chukars & quail, ducks, geese, dogs–even a pony.  My brothers loved their geese & the quail–they even had to hand raise (with some help from all of us) one of the pigeon babies because he was abandoned by the parents.

That was quite a lesson.  They named him George, in honor of our family doctor–he was the one that provided the pablum and vitamins for our little orphan.  Somehow, he survived the feedings every two hours divided between all family members, our mixing up the pablum to feed him with a dropper, and even the emergency surgery (performed by dad) when somebody overfed him & burst his crop.  We all fell in love with him. He was part of the family. He even answered to his name and came when we called him.  We allowed him to fly free around our home — after all, he was a homing pigeon, so we knew he would always come home. Eventually.  But one day, he didn’t. We were completely devastated. To the point that, when we once went to the San Francisco zoo, we were sure we saw him and kept calling for him. We must have looked like a  bunch of wacko kids,  crying and screaming out for George.  Our poor parents could not calm us. A very traumatic, but strangely warm memory from our childhood.

There were other orphaned critters raised, marauding neighbor dogs decimating our beloved hens and pets that came and went. We learned to love each one, to care for them–or at least try. Each one carried a lesson for us.

Patience, love, perseverance.

In a way, these lessons helped me raise an adorable, precocious child into a beautiful, intelligent young  lady.

Today, in addition to this lovely lady that has since flown the coop, I have an adorable loving dog, a mischievous cat, a rabbit and twelve hens. I am crazy, really, to have all of these animals in my life right now,  but there are still lessons to be learned and I have plenty of love to share, so why not.

I am relearning patience, as I — maybe-not-so-patiently — wait for the last of my young pullets to begin laying. There are three that are either simply not going to, or are the proverbial late bloomers.  One of these days, I suppose, I’ll be surprised (and thrilled) with a second blue egg from my “I’m taking my time” Americauna and beautiful light to medium brown eggs from the other two late bloomers.

I am constantly reminded of my responsibilities to share my time and attention with my feathered and four-legged friends. Even when I don’t feel up to it.  Even when the weather has me wishing I could stay indoors.  When I’d much rather be reading, writing or tramping in the woods taking pictures.  There will always be time for those endeavors, too.

Giving, no matter what.

They also teach me to be thankful. Yes, thankful.

Thankful for the small things. For their entertaining qualities (every single one of them make me laugh), for the warm, furry, lap-warmer and  loving snuggler (my cat, of course) in my life, for the unquestioning love and faithfulness (obviously, not the cat). I am thankful for the mini-hand warmers my hens provide each day as I collect their eggs on these chilly mornings. And for the food they provide for my friends and for me.

As we approach our Thanksgiving Day holiday, I find my life filled to overflowing with so many things to be thankful for, whether memories of the past or things current in my life.   And thankful that I am able to prepare for and spend this special day with my daughter and her husband.  Good times.

I am not going to let the rush of this and the upcoming holidays get in the way of remembering what this whole season is truly about.  Please take the time, and remember to be thankful for what you have — no matter how great or small it may be or seem.

What memories or things in your life are you thankful for?

A warm and happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone.

I Am Blessed

IN THE LIFE I HAVE chosen to live, one day can, and often does, blur endlessly into another.  The days are peppered with errands and chores that could happen just about any day, without any set routine, making it hard to define a specific day — none of the “I’m doing laundry, so it must be Tuesday…”  Nope, not in this house.

I must have my coffee first thing every day.  Animals must be fed daily.  But, aside from that, there is no set day for laundry or chores that shout to be done.  My Artistic Siren may beckon for a trip out into the woods for a photo shoot or a day at the printing press or even for me to hunker down in front of the computer typing madly putting my thoughts on ‘paper’.  I am able to pick and choose what to do (usually) when I wish.  Things that really should be done may pile up, but I’m okay with that.  I’ve come to enjoy this randomness.

That is, every day but Sunday.   I thoroughly enjoy the beautiful routine that make my Sunday. It does start the same as every day: caring for the animals, my cherished cups of coffee (and breakfast), but after that, I am able to get a little dressed up.  I’m a country girl and a little bit of a tomboy, too, so I find an occasional dress-up day is fun.

I get to spend one-on-one time with my Father and my church family.  To sing beautiful worship songs.  Listen to godly words of wisdom that seem to be just for me, to learn to weave into my daily life.   It is a time of reflection, celebration, communion and praise. A time I look forward to, and need.  Every.  Single.  Week.  I cherish my Sundays.

This is not to say that Sunday is the only day that God is in my life. I know this may be the case for some people.  Not me.  Far from it.  It’s just the day that I set aside to celebrate Him fully.

Every day of the week, I am continually awestruck at the beauty that surrounds me.  All that He has made for me–the natural beauty of a sunset, sunrise, how the clouds hang in the sky, how the wind sounds as it dances through the branches of trees, or the graciousness I see in people around me.  The miracles of science made possible with mans existence — and our existence made possible by Him.   I am thankful to be healthy enough to work in my yard and home, for all of my friends and extended family…oh, thankful for so many things.

This life God has blessed me with is one great adventure, every single day, especially when I open my eyes and see it.  Really see it.  There may be pain in my life, taking various forms (mental, physical) in different degrees, but just like everyone else I breathe, I walk, talk, crawl, sing, laugh, shout out in anger or joy…weaving in and out of and negotiating with this thing we call Life.

I am thankful, joyful, humbled.  I Am. Blessed.  It’s that simple.

Sometimes I do think, “Oh, if only I had more money. I could do this or that…” I am quietly reminded to be satisfied with who I am and what I have. I am reminded that I can accomplish so much with what is at hand.

I have a smile and I use it abundantly.  I have time–well, that I’m not so proficient at managing. I have talents–some found and constantly explored, some yet to discover. I have compassion.  Desire, and more.  I know I am commanded to use all of these things. Create. Live. Love. Share. Help others find joy.

What I need to remind myself–and wish to share with you, is that is important to share your wealth —  your blessings, whatever form they may take, with others.  Appreciate the little things in life.  Sometimes that is all there is for the time.  God has blessed each and every one of us, in one way or anther, so that we may in turn bless others.

I’m just saying.  I’m blessed.  How about you?