Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Craziness and Family -

I am the oldest of 7 children.
I gave birth to 2 children.
Scott has 4 children.
All of these children have spouses or significant others.
I have about 30 nieces and nephews, many of them have spouses, and children.
I have 20 grandchildren.
I have 2 parents.

This breeds chaos.
Joyful chaos (mostly).
But a wild ride for sure.

On Friday my sister's golden child (daughter) gets married.
On Thursday my siblings from out of state arrive for wedding festivities.
And 4th of July festivities.
And because that's not enough partying, family reunion festivities.

Which means -
Revolving doors between my house and my next-door neighbors (parents).
Work schedules that beg for flexibility.
Meal plans begging for flexibility.
Change of plan flexibility.

And - family!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ayurveda - An Opportunity to Learn -

I love to learn - whether participating in a classroom, reading great material, taking an online course, or listening to a presentation or lecture. I hunger for knowledge and enlightenment. I question everything (ask Scott, bugs him to death), and I love detail - how do you know, where did the information come from, what does it mean, why does it matter, are just some of the questions I ask as I learn.

I have an opportunity this summer to learn about Ayurvedic medicine. I've written about Ayurveda a couple of times, and the benefits I have received from practicing. My practitioner, Jessica, is offering a summer course in Ayurveda, and I am so grateful I get to be a participant in it.

I'm looking forward to this opportunity - it's going to be a fast and furious 12 weeks, but if there's one thing I know, it's that I know I am teachable - open to being a student - what a wonderful place to be.

If you're interested in learning more about Ayurveda, I strongly suggest you check out Jessica's work. She's quite the healer and quite the teacher.

Come learn with me -

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Big Question -

So - today's thought -

Would you like to die with dignity or live with pain? Not that they are exclusive, but the more I'm learning and seeing, the more I see how polarized these options are. I'm not seeing how living without pain and dying with dignity can be had.

Is life about quality or quantity - and when does that decision need to be made? What would you choose? Who would you have choose for you if you couldn't? At what cost?

Big Question -

So - today's thought -

Would you like to die with dignity or live with pain? Not that they are exclusive, but the more I'm learning and seeing, the more I see how polarized these options are. I'm not seeing how living without pain and dying with dignity can be had.

Is life about quality or quantity - and when does that decision need to be made? What would you choose? Who would you have choose for you if you couldn't? At what cost?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Uncertainty -

I'm not kidding when I say I live from day to day. I know - probably a revelation to many of you who know me. I am extremely organized, I have my planner sketched out through the week, and beyond, and I like knowing what's going to happen rather than being surprised. But in my real world, I live one morning, one afternoon, one evening, at a time, never looking forward too far. Why? Anxiety is the key element in this un-process. Things that used to excite or push me on now overwhelm or confuse me.

For instance - I have a colleague who says, "We really need to get this project finished, because when it's off our plate and into the hands of administration they are going to want us to take this to corporate." Exciting for sure, but if I have to add this to my already overloaded daily workload, I'm anxious, and it's hanging in the back of my mind saying, "Fix me, fix me." And I can't. Another - Scott and I are planning a trip to the Northwest. My old Ronda needs to have the first night's lodging planned, the second night's lodging scheduled, and then I can rest. The certainty of the uncertainty scares me, so I organize, and then I let go, because if I had to plan all the days of our trip, then anxiety rushes on me.

My dear husband taught me how to cope with this world of uncertainty. He taught me, "One day at a time," which also means one moment at a time. He taught me, "Not everything needs to be done right now," and "Just because it's on your radar doesn't mean it's on mine."

So I plan - to the best of my ability, and then I "Let go and Let God." Or - let go of what I can't control, which includes the ever changing moments of my life.

Uncertainty also means flexibility, and as funny as this sounds, particularly mentioning that I'm organized, it plays in very well to my organization - if I am planned, then I can let go, knowing the plan, when the time is right, will happen - in one form or another. And flexibility is my middle name (along with Lyn).

And so in scheduling and then letting go, I can breathe through my anxiety rather than hold my breath through the turbulent moments. I can stay in the moment, be present, knowing that I don't have to know everything all the time, and be just fine with that. I'm confused by people who live in a world of certainty, black and white, 2, 5, 10 year plans, leaving no time for changes, questions - meaning no time for adventures, listening for answers.

Already, this week has brought uncertainty and a need to make adjustments - and although I had a moment of stress this morning, I breathed, took a short meditation break, and then I could step by in my day with certainty, being fully present as the day unfolded.

Uncertainty does not breed lack of control, doubt, fear, rather, uncertainty can breed flexibility and mostly - freedom, freedom of choice - when to worry, when to bend, when to act, when to pause. I'm not burdened by the "What's next" and "What if's" of control. Certainty gives a sharply clear picture, but leaves no place for adventure. Uncertainty brings adventure, and it's in the uncertainty that magic happens.

Margaret Atwood said, "When nothing is sure, everything is possible." I like this -

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Strong Fathers - Strong Daughters -

Three years have passed since I wrote this, and thankfully, my father is still here. His health continues to fail, and he's had more than his share of hospital and doctors' visits. He complains - he has aches and pains everywhere, and as soon as one is identified and calmed, another pops up. It's hard to have a deep conversation with him, but he tries, and his children try. He's a good man, a generous man, and it pains me to see him frail. His smile doesn't wane - he has a nod and a smile that say, "I'm trying," and I so appreciate that. He's taught me so much. 

The card I purchased for his day tomorrow says, "Strong Fathers Strong Daughters." 

Thanks Dad - I love you - 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Oct. 28 Daddy's Girl -

The phone is ringing. It's too early for a conversation. That means one thing - something has happened to my next-door neighbor. I walk to the kitchen, not even awake, and answer. It's my mom. "Everything's OK. Your dad has crumpled by the side of the bed, can Scott come help me get him back into bed?" "Yes." And I wiggle Scott, soundly sleeping, and ask him to go help Mom. He does. I look at the clock, 6:15am. Too early for a Sunday. Scott comes home, we go back to sleep.

8:15am. The phone rings. It's my mom. "Tyler's here. Can Scott and you help me get your dad down to the hospital?" "Sure, now?" "I want to shower first, in 30 minutes." So I hop into the shower, quickly dress. Scott takes his turn, and we run next door to determine how our day's happenings.

I love, love, adore, my dad. He's 83. He water-skied until he was 75 years old. He's always been busy - and he's taught his children how to be hard workers. He always hated seeing us sitting. He'd make us work hard then play hard with us. He's a demanding father. When he wants a project done, he means "now, not tomorrow, not next year, now. Hop to it." From him I've learned how to be bossy, demanding, and a hard worker - "Get off your butt and do something besides complain!" From him I've also learned how to be honest - "If I ever catch you in a lie . . .", sincere - "I love you," and generous - "We are blessed. I need your help (usually right now) to weed/mow Sister, or Brother so and so's yard/garden." I've also learned to be organized - "Put it where it belongs, now." And my dad is devoted - to his wife, his church, his God, his family. He's also a great cook - "Taste this, tell me what you think,"and a great craftsman. He taught me, "Give it a try, what's the worst that could happen?" And to "Measure twice, cut once." He taught me how to use his tools without any gender issues, at all. Dad doesn't hold grudges, "Forgive and forget," and he believes in acceptance - "You don't have to approve, but you do have to accept." 

He loves having his children around, and more than that, he loves having his grandchildren and great-grandchildren visit him. He speaks lovingly and positively about them. He's usually the first to give a grandchild ice cream, always wanting to hold and hug and smooch with them, and he gives and receives hugs and tons of smiles and laughs. 

His health hasn't been the best these past 4 years. He has 15 stents, a pacemaker, neuropathy in his feet, shortness of breath from congestive heart failure, and a bad back, and today, pneumonia. He hasn't let that stop him from being MY daddy. This past year he has checked on me almost daily, walking over with his walker (a Walker walking with a walker), knocking on the back door, and then, not waiting for an answer, wandering on inside, talking as he makes his way to wherever I'm at. There have been times when I've had to shoo him away because I was getting dressed or in a meeting, but for the most part, he has a bit of news to share, something he wants me to read, or "I haven't seen you for a couple of days, are you alive?" "I need you to . . ." or "When will Scott be home, I need him to . . ." He's said to me, more than once, "How is work?" "How is class going?" And even, "Your mom won't let me drive, but I can come and sit with you if you ever need me to."

I've learned a lot about him during the past 2 years. My pains have taught me about his pains, and he has taught me how to handle them. He may have chronic pain, a lifetime's worth of pursuit of a perfect night's rest, and he does his share of complaining about those aches. But - he doesn't talk bad about people, doesn't blame God or anyone else for the life he has. I haven't seen him grumble, wonder or "why me." He makes time for us kids, and he has taught me how to make time for others.  

He's a good man. Today when the doctor asked Dad if he had a living will and a DNR and DNI order, Dad replied, "Do it all. Keep me alive as long as you can." I teared up a little and sent those same words to heaven, "Do it all. Keep my daddy alive as long as You can."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Blessed with Boys - Pride -

I am extraordinarily blessed to have several young men in my life who call me "mom/auntie." I know they're on loan to me from their mothers, but honestly, can we ever have too much love in our lives?

Let me tell you about a few:

Micah - What a doll. Kind, considerate, deep thinker, artistic, seeker of goodness.

Craig - Walked the line for awhile, until he could claim his life as his own. Conservative, searching, pondering, creative.

Tyler - Intense. Fun, serious, flamboyant, loves learning, great farm-hand.

Nick - Sweet. Sees the world through a lens. Trustworthy, goofy, committed.

Cortney - Gorgeous. Fighter, adventurer, loving, supportive, amazing, hates stereotypes.

Adam - Beginning. Inquisitive, writer, trail-blazer. Honest.

Chris - Artist. Angry, creator, diligent, searching, giver of light.

Cade - Hilarious. Generous, conversationalist, explorer, great uncle.

Max - Happy. Kind, devoted, family-man.

Notice any similarities? Any differences? Anything that would jump out at you and say, "I am gay, therefore I am not of worth or of value?" No. Not a damn thing.

These are "my" boys, and I will go to fight for them any day, and I know they would/have do/done the same for me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hiatus -

Summertime - when conferences and grandchildren and books and hikes and family and family and family and work take precedence over blogging.

So time off for me, and you! See you in a week or so.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Just -

Can you imagine how much more powerful this phrase would be if "just" was removed?

This week's challenge: try to remove "just" from your vocabulary. Feeling stronger? 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Closing Doors -

We've all heard the saying, "When one door closes, another opens." And often we think of that as opportunity awaiting us when we think we have no options. However - I'm hear to say, "When one door closes, a door closes." And I'm not being fatalistic here, more a realist.

I don't believe that doors clicking shut are necessarily a bad thing. Think of it this way - you go to the ice cream shop, wanting burnt almond fudge ice cream. You get there and there is no burnt almond fudge ice cream. Ok, but there 22 other flavors, which have always been available, but you've always stuck with your one option. The burnt almond fudge ice cream door closed, and there wasn't another chocolate ice cream to take its place, but there were still plenty of flavors to choose from, just ones you'd never taken serious until the door had closed. More options? No, same as before. Just more clarity to see what is, and always has been, available.

Or - "Man, I am so stinkin' busy, I haven't had a moment to myself." And then the party you were supposed to go to is cancelled, and you get to stay home. A door closed. And suddenly you can stay home, not hustling to find something to replace the cancelled gig, but something that is already existing fills that spot.

You may even be a door-closer. Shutting doors, just to clear off space for what you already are doing. Or, shutting doors as you walk away from experiences that are best left behind. Or perhaps saying "no," to an offer, not because you expect something better to come up, or that you're shutting one door after another in a process of elimination, but just because "no" is the right thing to say.

And of course, we often think that others close doors for us. A job loss is often a time to think about what door will open to replace this closed door.

I've been working with Marv Loflin and some other amazing folks for about 8 years. We founded 2 businesses together - IHOU (International Hispanic Online University) and LearningU. Over the years, as our business model has changed, we've gone from feast to famine, as far as finances, sales, and number of employees is concerned. The past 3 years I've been working about 5 hours a week for LearningU, because my chaplaining and teaching has taken priority. And that's been great, until about 18 months ago when I realized the only reason I was staying with LearningU was because of my allegiance/loyalty to Marv. That door closes this next week. And as much as I'm going to miss a couple of folks, I won't miss others, and I won't have to try and "fit in" some of my LearningU responsibilities. A door closed, and I'm not looking for anything to open, right now! I'm perfectly happy having one less option. And having more time to do what is already overflowing out of some of my open doors.

Traveling to Alabama was another door closing experience. The trails I so wanted to hike were overgrown and not accessible, the canyon I wanted to visit was closed until Memorial Day, the house I thought I needed to say good-bye to did not even look like the house I left. And as Scott and I left Florence, AL, driving toward Tennessee, I realized these closures were doors closing behind me, and there was no pain. I was not sad I couldn't access what I thought I was wanting. Rather, I was looking forward. Doors closed. That's it.

My dear son has been having trials at work. He has worried and feared and spent many sleepless nights wondering how to handle various situations,circumstances, and people. Attempting to make things fair for everyone but himself. And he could not see any options. As he closed the door this week, the trials and turmoils were gone. And all of the rest of his life he'd been juggling, the areas where he'd made huge compromises, suddenly became less of a juggle, less of a burden, and available. He could see what was in front of him, because he had closed a door. His workplace wants him back, and even if he chooses to walk back through the door, it will be a new door - with changes that will be made, because he is defining the new.

I hope I'm making sense here. Closed doors are not dead ends. Closed doors are not a loss of options. Closed doors eliminate turmoil, narrow down choices, and provide us with less confusion and more clarity. There is no reason to mourn a closed/closing door. That's the only way to see what is still available - or what is more available.

Whether you close the door, or it's closed on you, look at it as an opportunity to re-evaluate your already existing open doors, before deciding whether or not you want to add one more door to your list of options.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Laughter -

One of the best things about my marriage is that Scott and I make each other laugh. Humor plays an important part in our relationship. I mean, newly-weds at 45 and 55 - you know we don't have sexy bodies, and 12 year later we laugh at our bagginess, hairiness, wrinkles, well, I won't go into any further detail! But we love us - complete with body sounds, and we laugh, because the irony is that we think the other is damn sexy - even in our birthday suits.

We laugh at our "woops" and awkwardness, when we think too fast and something other than what we are thinking comes out. I mean - "hitting mitts" for "boxing gloves," and "blablablablaba" when the word I'm looking for isn't there, and these are pretty laugh-worthy - better laughter than anger or frustration.

I'm a klutz, and we laugh at my stumbles, my attempts to throw a ball further than over the fence. For 12 years Scott has been trying to teach me how to spit out gum, seeds, and I'm lousy, and more than once I've swallowed or spit more than gum. We laugh at my antics and at his machismo when his seeds go way over the fence or across the road. We laugh about our differences - religion, politics, and take comfort in knowing differences are good.

It's the little things that make us giggle, and sometimes even snort. A funny scene in a movie, an outfit that doesn't quite go together (all green, in different hues and "is this black or blue"), bluejays scaring robins in the backyard, grandchildren saying and doing the funniest things - or the sweetest things.

We laugh at how we think we so rock, we're so atypical, we so buck the norm, and yet we are the norm. We laugh at sizes, shapes, thoughts, modes, sounds, you name it. We laugh.

And surprises. Ones like this, that I came home to last night. A happy Buddha - Scott knows it will bring me joy, and we laugh at his desire to make me happy and my delight in the gift. If we are caught off-guard, the better the laughter -

Yeah, we love to laugh - not at, but with each other. Life is good.