Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Come home to me...

When you lose a furry family member the grief is every bit as intense as when you lose a human you are close to.  And you don't know if to greet people who say cruel and horrible things like "It's just a dog..." with a hard kick to the groin or pity for the lack of unconditional love in their life so you end up so you end up looking at them with an expression that asks "Are you from another planet?" as melt into yet another stream of hot, lonely, heart-broken tears.

The past few months it seems like so many people I know have had to say goodbye to a well-loved pet.  I've watched as they've struggled through the pain of having the very fabric of their daily life ripped apart.  I know that someday I'll face that with my boys, too.  Hopefully it's a long ways off... but I already dread its coming.  I didn't start the morning with such morbid thoughts, but a tender poem came across my Facebook feed and left me sniffling and reminiscing about the fur-babies awaiting me on the other side.  I LOVE the last line!  If animals aren't allowed in Heaven, it isn't home.

To my dearest friend...

I stood by your bed last night; I came to have a peep. 
I could see that you were crying you found it hard to sleep. 
I spoke to you softly as you brushed away a tear, 
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here." 
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea, 
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me. 
I was with you at the shops today; your arms were getting sore. 
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more. 
I was with you at my grave today; you tend it with such care. 
I want to re-assure you, that I'm not lying there. 
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key. 
I gently put my paw on you; I smiled and said, "it's me." 
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair. 
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there. 
It's possible for me, to be so near you everyday. 
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away." 
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew... 
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you. 
The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning 
and say "good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning." 
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide, 
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side. 
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see. 
Be patient, live your journey out...then come home to me.

Rest in peace sweet fur-babies... Rest in peace my Coley, Ugly, Buttons, Smokey, Daisy, Mittens, Lizzie, Pepper, Harry, Suzy, Baby, and Taffy.  I can't wait to see you again!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventure Ahead

Every now and then I find myself repeating an apology for a prolonged absence... I must not be all that penitent because I keep doing it so I'm going to skip the I'm sorry part and just let you know that I spent a lot of the last month finding me and reconnecting my psyche with passions that had been put aside.  You know those things that probably contributed a big share in losing touch with myself and having that major crash...

Being away from blogging was actually a very good thing for me.  And I invite you to rejoice in that!  I'm more ready than ever to put the nightmare of the past couple of years behind me and move on to a bright and wonderful future.

The first thing I'm doing is adjusting my attitude.  With all the health problems, financial problems, relationship problems, even more serious relationship problems, still even more serious relationship problems, questioning everything I knew about life, love, God, the world... yeah, living has felt like an ordeal at times.

I'm letting loose of the relationship woes.  I did what was in my power to make things work and to seek forgiveness and reconciliation for my wrongs.  That's all I can do.  So I'm just letting it go.  I'm giving up on the apology that's definitely owed me but I know will never come.  My next chapter starts now.  And it's all about adventure!

I'm taking care of me first.  For the longest time I couldn't even think of things that I used to be interested in or would see as fun.  A couple of weeks ago, though, I had a breakthrough.  I pulled out a quilt top I'd started years ago and got too busy so it was set aside and never finished.  Somehow it made it on the truck for my move and in a few weeks it will be all finished.  There was even enough spare fabric folded up with it to make some throw pillows.  My plan is to put these on my future couch.  I also pulled out the sketch book and noticed that I used to do some pretty awesome sketches.  I've been saving inspiration pictures to pick that hobby up again and studying artists whose style I like.  I've also done some research into what kind of colored pencils I need to get so that I'll be able to do some intricately shaded florals.  A few other long lost loves I'm planning to reconnect with is the Farmer's Market for Saturday breakfast and a little shopping, adding to my collection of antique silver spoons (and finishing out the big set of Columbia silverware), expanding my culinary skills by trying new foods and cooking methods and gardening.

Yes, I know I say every year that I want to garden in the coming spring and I haven't managed to make it happen for about 5 years now.  Whether I can wangle this place away from Derek (Afterall it was my money that bought it and only his manipulation and underhandedness that got him on the title after-the-fact!) and have plenty of room to do it right or have to start over again on my own and have flower pots on a balcony, I swear by Heaven's Most Almighty Powers 2015 will see me have a garden!

I'm going back on the job market.  Despite being chewed up and spit out like yesterday's bubble gum, I know I have skills.  And someone out there is going to have the intelligence to recognize that and get one heck of deal when they make me an employee.

I'm going back on the social market, too.  I moved to Georgia with the promise and expectation of being pulled into a big, happy, close-knit family.  I had the promise and expectation of being introduced to their business contacts and friends.   Both were over promised and vastly under delivered...  I found myself financially taken advantage of, stranded, lonely, isolated, far from anyone I knew and feeling very much like I didn't quite fit in.  No more!  I've started to develop my own unique social network.  I've met the neighbors.  I've found a wonderful group of like-minded folks in my church congregation.  I've already planned out a couple of evening classes for next year and a respectable list of events and places to visit where I'll no doubt meet other people with at least that specific interest in common.

I have real, honest, achievable goals.  They are all written out in detail, broken down into smaller steps and the work has begun.  I hope you'll stick around for the ride... it's going to be a heck of a show!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Science of Happy

Today in Relief Society we were talking about happiness.  I love that I am part of such a practical Church!  Much of our discussion was based on this 2006 Conference address by Jeffrey R. Holland called Broken Things to Mend.

I especially love the image he describes here of our walk with the Savior and how He can heal our brokenness if we will let Him:  "It seems clear that the essence of our duty and the fundamental requirement of our mortal life is captured in these brief phrases [refers to times He said "Follow me."] from any number of scenes in the Savior’s mortal ministry. He is saying to us, “Trust me, learn of me, do what I do. Then, when you walk where I am going,” He says, “we can talk about where you are going, and the problems you face and the troubles you have. If you will follow me, I will lead you out of darkness,” He promises. “I will give you answers to your prayers. I will give you rest to your souls.”"

We also talked a little about the science of being happy... and yes, there really is a scientific background to it.  Much of our feelings of happiness stem from what's going on in the frontal lobe of the brain.  If you can imagine looking at an MRI image of the brain.  When a person is depressed one side of the frontal lobe is lit up with activity.  When he or she is happy the other side is lit because substances like serotonin and norepinephrine are plentiful and active.  The trick is to keep the activity primarily on the happy side.  Some of that is chemistry and that's why there are so many prescription drugs available to assist.  But there's also much we can do for ourselves.

A researcher named Hank Smith developed a list of 10 things that supremely happy people do.  Since that was our handout, I'm going to share his list.

  1. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.  Joy is contagious.  People are four times more likely to be happy in the future with happy people around them.
  2. Happy people try to be happy.  When happy people don't feel happy, the cultivate a happy thought and smile about it.
  3. Happy people spend money more on others than they spend on themselves.  Givers experience what scientists call the "helper's high."
  4. Happy people have deep in-person conversations.  Sitting down to talk about what makes a person tick is a good practice for feeling good about life.
  5. Happy people use laughter as medicine.  A good old-fashioned chuckle releases lots of good neurotransmitters.  A study showed that children, on average, laugh 300 times a day versus adults who laugh 15 times a day.
  6. Happy people use the power of music.  Researchers found that music can match the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy.
  7. Happy people exercise and eat a healthful diet.  Eating a poor diet can contribute to depression,
  8. Happy people take the time to unplug and go outside.  Uninterrupted screen time brings on depression and anxiety.
  9. Happy people get enough sleep.  When people run low on sleep, they are prone to feel a lack of clarity, bad moods, and poor judgement.
  10. Happy people are spiritual.

I think at my core I am a happy person.  I've just taken a detour on this adventure called life and I'm struggling a bit to get back on my path.  Mr. Smith's list is a good starting point... some good things to keep in my conscious thought and build better habits.