Friday, May 22, 2015

The Dismals -

There's this most amazing canyon in Northwest Alabama - the Dismals Canyon. Unlike many of the canyons in the west, you cannot drive through this. Here you hike down, below ground level. And there you are greeted with the most pristine wilderness I've ever seen. 

This week, as I've been dealing with my own case of dismals, ennui, malaise - I've thought about the Dismals Canyon. Going deep, going from surface down, is not an easy process - you can't see what lies ahead - where the road leads, as when we're driving on the surface. Going down is often seen as going into the unknown, the dark. It's risky, scary, unsafe. 

The Dismals Canyon is beautiful - there are waterfalls, caverns, grottos, little glowing bugs that can only be found here, toads, lizards, trees with leaves as large as a small child, 27 native species of trees - an abundance of surprises. 

Dealing with my dismals is similar to hiking below ground - it is hard, exhausting, I've had my share of waterfalls this week, even a couple of geysers, there have been toads and lizards on my mossy-green path, and I've found leaves larger than I expected. I'm alone on this hike - rather than bringing the entire world (Scott) with me, I'm focusing on self-care.  

I've been filling my cup by helping others fill their cups, but I'm realizing I need to fill my own cup, by myself, for myself. What a novel idea! Rather than hiking up a mountain, to the top, I'm going to retreat into my canyon, and look a little deeper for healing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Running - Our Father - Larry -

A life spent running. abuse is the cause. 
Our Father.
Leaving to escape slows. One foot down, education no longer. Next foot down. A thumb up. Alaska awaits. 
Who art in heaven.
Frozen flourishing. Stop. Relationships with no prior training. Down, down, down. Road rash that bites and burns. No one ever told me . . . Running partners long gone. Constructing. No definition, no foundation. 
Thy kingdom.
On earth. 
John Barleycorn, No-tell Motel, Joe Camel. Diamond Lil.
Stepped on a crack, with broken back continue running. Free. Running. Free. Alone. Run into, run away from. Run toward - the unknown. Damn. Memory of first running lessons - broken switch, torn bible. Get the hell out of here. Stay the course, pray always, answers. Where? Body ravaged, by failed races, still running. 
Thy will.
Home. Homeless. Holding to hope is hopeless. Soleless, soulless, solace. 
On earth.
One foot down. 
My daily bread. 
Forgive trespasses. 
Trespassers. Walking now, one foot at a time. 
Lead me not into temptation. 
No more. One friend. Found. 
Delivered from evil. 
Lost. Loss. Race is over. No winners, only finished. 
For thine is the kingdom. 
And the power. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This Girl -

Thirty-one years (and nine months) ago, May 18, God said to me, 
"Here's your chance to rear your best friend. Don't screw it up." 
And He gave me Jenna Lyn. 

She is my baby, my sunshine, my June. 
She is my partner in crime, my side-kick, my travel buddy, my teacher, the love of my life.
She gets me, even when she wishes she didn't. 

She is most beautiful, most wise, most talented, most unique, most authentic, most kind, compassionate, caring, most concerned, most inquisitive, most generous, most teachable, most fun. 

Happy Birthday baby girl - I love you. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Faith - No Safety Net

Faith is when you turn your will over to your Higher Power, and step, with bills to pay and age to limit, without a safety net. . .

My trial comes in always having a back up plan, until now. My ego says hurry, do, create, develop, network. My soul says, you prayed for this time for healing and space - be still.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hinges and Flexibility -

There's an LDS Primary song with these lyrics: 

I'm all made of hinges, 'cause ev'rything bends
From the top of my neck way down to my ends. 
I'm hinges in front, and I'm hinges in back; 
But I have to be hinges, or else I would crack! 

This is sung with the children standing up and moving in a robot-like fashion, as if their joints were hinges.

Alas and alack, I sometimes wonder if this is a way of conditioning children to understand the need for flexibility. For the fact that life changes, quickly, on a dime, and that if we aren't flexible, bending, we can truly crack. I often think of this song, even singing it to myself, when my days are crazy. It's a reminder that yes, life is busy, but yes, I am flexible; I have to be.

Today's, heck this week's, oh wait, maybe this year, has been nothing but allowing for changes, regularly. Sometimes it's rearranging, occasionally erasing, or often adding. My planner is filled with items crossed-out or white-outed, arrows moving one responsibility to another time. Years ago Franklin Covey, and their planner, suggested making a prioritized checklist of "to do's" for the day, getting those done first, checking them off so you could see what had been accomplished, and then either re-prioritizing that evening, or removing what hadn't been finished.

Fine in an ideal world, but my list today is a torn-sheet of paper with scribbled words, stuck in my calendar, to just get accomplished this week, in addition to what is already penned in. And my desk is a prioritized system of piles - categorized by, ummm, hmmmm, well, hopefully those piles will be eliminated by the end of the week, or else I will crack!

My calendar, my desk, my life?! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Reflecting - Step 4

My mind never stops running - unless I'm playing with my grandchlidren, creating, or, well, um . . .
I'm constantly assessing my life, my beliefs, my goals, my dreams, my reality, and some days this gets pretty burdensome.

Part of doing AA's 12 steps is making a personal inventory: Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Most often the requirement is to write things down, not just think about them, but put them on paper - so they are in our faces, and we are totally aware of these elements in our lives. This is difficult for most of us - searching fearlessly takes time and energy, and is exhausting.

Enjoy this one - just one style of a personal inventory. I like this inventory because it does not focus strictly on negatives, but there are positive elements as well - and they are important to our inventory. Portions of this can also be used for "get to know you" situations, writing prompts, or as conversation starters.

1.    What are three behaviors in other people that hurt your feelings?

2.     Who makes you most angry most often?

3.     What experience from your childhood/adolescence still negatively impact you?

4.      What type of people do you find most annoying?

5.      What type of men do you like, admire and want to associate with?

6.     What type of child do you personally find bothersome?

7.     What type woman do you like, admire and want to associate with?

8.     What do you like most about teenagers?

9.     What is it about teenagers you find most annoying?

10. What is the emotion you most struggle against?

11. What is the emotion your mom and dad most struggled against?

12.  What about your physical body would you wish were different?

13.  What are your three greatest personal attributes?

14.  What lesson(s) does God currently most want you to learn?

15.  What is your attitude towards TIME?

16.  What has been three of your major failures in life?

17.  Who in your life has most wounded you?

18.  What adult has loved you in a healthy, unconditional manner?

19. Do you seek wisdom more from passive reading of books or actively from your "live" environment?

20.  What three things do you like most about yourself?

21.   What three people-skills do you want to become better at?

22.  Which two people in your immediate family do you have the most conflict with?

23.  Who in your past have you not yet totally forgiven?(emotionally and mentally)

24.  What were your four biggest fears as a child from age 2-12 years?

25.  What were your three biggest fears as a teenager?

26.  What are your two biggest fears now as an adult?

 27.  What has been the darkest and most discouraging period of your life?

28.  How have you hurt people in your life?
1.   During childhood:                                                                                    _
2. During adolescence:-------------------
3. As an adult: ________________________________________
29.  How would you rate the quality of love verbally and behaviorally expressed in your childhood home?     POOR              OK            GOOD           GREAT

30.  What things did you do well as a child and received praise for?

31.  What things did you do well as a teenager and received praise for?

32.  What do people now say they admire about you and praise you for?

33.  What weaknesses about you are you most anxious to hide from others?

34.  What secrets are still locked-up inside you?

35.  What positive things about parenting did you learn from your parents?

36.  What unhealthy ways from your parents do you want to avoid in your parenting?

37.  What negative characteristics about other people "bug" you the most?

38.  What would be the three worst things that could ever happen to you?

39.  What are the three best things that could happen to you in the next 10 years?

40.  What are the three best things that could happen to you before you die?
41.  Who are a few deceased men in history ...or your life you admire...and why?

42.  Who are a few deceased women from history ...or your life you admire...and why?

43.  Who are three living men you look up to...and why?

44.  Who are three living women you look up to...and why?

45.  If you had to select a different period of history in which to live than now, what would it be and in what part of the world?

46.  Which creatures in the air, land and sea best represent your personality?

47.  What type of tree, plant or flower best match you as a person?

48.  What do you, in general, like about children?

49.  Which three material possessions do you most treasure i.e. in case of a fire or flood?

50.  What three characteristics do you most like/respect in your father?

51.  What three traits do you not like very much in him?

52.  What three characteristics do you most like about your mother?

53.  What three traits do you dislike most in your mother?

54.  In retrospect, what do you wish your father would have done differently for or with you?

55.  What do you wish your mother would have done differently with you as a child?

56.  What type of friend were you to your friends during:

Childhood:        Poor ___          OK ___ Good  ___


57.  Who are your three favorite male friends?

58.  Who are your three favorite female friends?

59.  Which foods most remind you of your childhood home?

60.  What impresses you?

61.  Who from your past has been encouraging to you along your life journey?

62.  In the hereafter, after you die; if you could meet and visit with any person whom has ever lived, who would they be...and why?

63.  What do you think God would say about you?

64.  To whom are you currently most loving?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Days Like This -

Semester is over, grades are in, projects are wrapping up, garden planted, ready for the next - hopefully that is VACATION - or at least a long overdue break!
This song is always a reminder to me to look ahead when the moment is too much to bear. 

When it's not always raining there'll be days like this
When there's no one complaining there'll be days like this
When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch
Well my mama told me there'll be days like this

When you don't need to worry there'll be days like this
When no one's in a hurry there'll be days like this
When you don't get betrayed by that old Judas kiss
Oh my mama told me there'll be days like this

When you don't need an answer there'll be days like this
When you don't meet a chancer there'll be days like this
When all the parts of the puzzle start to look like they fit
Then I must remember there'll be days like this

When everyone is up front and they're not playing tricks
When you don't have no freeloaders out to get their kicks
When it's nobody's business the way that you wanna live
I just have to remember there'll be days like this

When no one steps on my dreams there'll be days like this
When people understand what I mean there'll be days like this
When you ring out the changes of how everything is
Well my mama told me there'll be days like this

Oh my mama told me
There'll be days like this
Oh my mama told me
There'll be days like this
Oh my mama told me
There'll be days like this
Oh my mama told me
There'll be days like this