Adjusting The Sails Of Life

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails” ~William Arthur Ward

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As family members and friends we often adjust our lives and schedules to meet the needs of others. We give up lucrative careers to spend more time with our children. We move to be closer to aging parents. We take leaves of absence from jobs to tend for ailing friends. We become caregivers of loved ones with disabilities or terminal illnesses. We take on second jobs to pay our children’s college tuitions. We lose our jobs and have to spend our savings. Our retirement plans are put on hold due to loss of 401ks. Our children have medical, alcohol, drug, or other problems that incur medical or legal fees. Our grown children move back home. We end up raising our grandchildren. Our lives take unexpected twists and turns. We make adjustments when and where necessary.

When I hear people speak of the sacrifices they’ve made in their lives I often detect a stitch of bitterness, a twinge of regret, a sense of blame. I wonder if they were forced into these decisions.

We make choices every day. Sometimes we trade one thing for another.

When I hear the word sacrifice I think of soldiers who put their lives on the line for our freedom.  In everyday living our adjustments seldom compare to battling for our lives.

The word sacrifice means a loss has incurred, something has been sold below value. What is the price tag for these adjustments we make? When we say we’ve sacrificed our time for someone else are we saying our time is more valuable than theirs? Do we feel victimized? If we’re going to be resentful perhaps it’s a decision we shouldn’t make.

There is a saying that we become the choices we make. Granted, choices and changes do not always come easy. However, we embody the grace in which we perform these actions.

Some people make sacrifices/adjustments/choices/changes I would be unwilling or reluctant to make or would cause me bitterness. Of course, this shows my true colors. Hats off to those of strength and courage. This is not to say I’ve never done things for others I didn’t want to do, nor is it saying I’ve never complained about these choices. Maturity has brought the realization resentment has no place in a life of peace.

Personally I haven’t made any sacrifices in my life. I’ve traded higher paying jobs for ones of less stress and better hours. I’ve also quit working to be home with my children. I decided against a return to college due to financial and time restraints, not to mention stress. Maybe I consider these to be minor adjustments because the benefits far outweighed the losses.

When I make a decision I try not to base it on sides, theirs or mine; if possible I do what I do for the good of all. If that is not an acceptable judgment, it’s time for me to make another adjustment…my attitude. I’m far from perfect, and make as many mistakes as the next guy. However, my attempt at simply replacing the word sacrifice with adjustment brings a sense of calm in the midst of chaos and emotion.

Family requires one to learn how to stretch and constrict as needed. Each of us continually shape thus resulting in changes which necessitate modifications in living arrangements and financial conditions. Doing these things in the name of love certainly makes adjustments more agreeable.

There is a Ghandi quote saying that if a sacrifice causes sorrow it is not a sacrifice as a sacrifice should bring one peace of mind.

When someone requests compensation, does it negate the sacrifice and make it a trade?

Let’s hear from you. What is your sacrificial lamb? Time? Money? Possessions? Comfort? Peace of mind? Was your sacrifice tangible? Do you feel you’ve made sacrifices or adjustments in your life? Do you have any regrets? Do you feel you must be compensated for your efforts? Were your rewards priceless?

The Power Of Belief

“We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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We hang tightly to what we believe. People try to dissuade us; still we grasp the concept like a kite string whipping in the wind. The twine knots and tangles; yet we grip harder, ripping the flesh of our hands.  Nothing can separate us from what has been engraved upon our souls…until something does. What we believe might be wrong, simply theory, nothing more than opinion.

This can be true of religion, politics, societal ideas, relationships as well as monetary concepts. Any issue that stirs us falls into this category.

Who or what we believe in tells us who we are. Our views become our life atlas.

Do you trust in what you do because you have proof of its existence or necessity?

Do you have faith in it because someone else told you it was the right thing?

Do you accept it because you feel it deeply inside you?

Why do you believe the things you do?

What is the one thing without question you are confident in?

I’m going to say love. I choose this because it covers all bases. God is love. Love leads the way in all other situations. If I choose to believe what love does it will lead me in the right direction. If I choose otherwise, I can still turn to love to lead me home.

I’m going to leave you with a profound quote which is worthy of contemplating:

“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives. “ ~Tony Robbins

Everyone Wants To Be The Cool Kid!

Best and Worst

Best: The weather is nice enough to play outside. We have a huge yard with lots of room to run

Worst: The kids prefer to run on the cobble stone patio.

Best: I have a slide and tunnel to entertain them.

Worst: They pull pine needles, grass, stones, sticks, and anything their little hands can reach through the chain fence from the neighbor’s yard and toss into mine.

Best: I bought them eight balls, two each of four colors to insure no fighting amongst them.

Worst: Each child wants all eight balls.

Best: I gave them trucks to run through the dirt.

Worst: They prefer to eat the dirt and stir it around with sticks and then poke each other with the sticks.

Best: We have a wading pool with water toys.

Worst: The kids toss dirt, grass, pine needles, pine cones, and sticks in it.

Best: I have children size chairs outside so they can sit comfortably when resting. (Or time out!)

Worst: They insist on sitting on one chair and putting another on their head or running through the yard with the chairs in the air pointing at each other. They all fought over one Mickey Mouse chairs  so I bought more chairs including another Mickey Mouse and a princess chair…they still all want the original Mickey Mouse chair.

Best: I bought riding toys, four exactly alike, except two in purple and two in red.

Worst: They still argue over who gets to ride which one.

Best: Wylie (the dog) gets to play outside with us.

Worst: The children have discovered Wylie’s water bowl…can you say mud?

Best: It’s cool to be the popular kid on the playground…that would be me!

Worst: They also don’t let me rest…they sit on me…hot, sweaty, and dirty, all of us!

Best: Naptime! Yay, they all take a nap at the same time! It’s quiet!

Worst: I don’t get to take a nap…

On Another Note: Most of you know I’ve been sick this past week. Apparently the germies must have invaded my brain as well as my body. When I went to take the kiddos outside to play in the pool yesterday I remembered my antibiotic was photosensitive, so I went to grab the sunscreen spray…I proceeded to douse myself with Febreeze! The upside is I smell like “meadows and rain”…tis my life!

As The Day Unfolds…

“The more our bodies fail us, the more naked and more demanding is the spirit, the more open and loving we can become if we are not afraid of what we are and of what we feel. I am not a phoenix yet, but here among the ashes, it may be that the pain is chiefly that of new wings trying to push through.” ~May Sarton, Recovering: A Journal

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We go through phases of being self-conscious of our bodies, embarrassed by our thoughts, or unsure of our talents. We worry ourselves with what others think of us. We allow this concern to prevent us from being who we are.  How long will it take us to realize what we think of ourselves is what matters?

Perhaps if we learn to dance with vulnerability, and hum along to her song, our hearts would open. If we allow our fears to flap in the wind like tiny birds will they fly away? Can you imagine the freedom of our souls once we find the rhythm to life’s music?

Today I wish to put myself out there…

to not censor the words I place on my paper/screen,

to not be ashamed of my tears,

to say the words no one dares to say,

to laugh out loud when no one tells a joke,

to dance where no music is playing,

to sing out of tune among the voices of melody,

to find the grace within the jagged exteriors of my soul,

to find what stirs deep within,

to be who I am without pretense or apology…

What do you wish for today?

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. – C.G. Jung

I’ve Been Down Under (The Weather That Is)

As gently as night wrapped her shawl around me she eased her way out. Sun, not as shy, burst her way in, ready to frolic. As playful and inviting as she was, I could not rise to meet her.  And so it went for three days…

Have you ever felt so miserable it was all you could do to breathe? I clung to the sofa and my bed for three days. It was all I could do to move about the house. A percussionist had taken residence in my head. Medication only made me nauseous and ice packs only bounced the banging from one temple to the other. Chills and sweats took turns invading my body while the pain that seared within settled into my back. Finally, I made it to the doctor’s office. After days and nights of clawing at the covers I drifted into medicinal slumber to awake in the middle of the night feeling great…and then the drugs wore off. Antibiotics kicked in and I joined the land of the living today.

I actually made it to Sam’s Club…the trip wore me out, but I feel like I’ve at least accomplished something this week. Nobody likes being sick and it doubly sucks when it falls on a long weekend with gorgeous weather. Then I remember I am entitled to a long weekend because it is Memorial Day, and I am ashamed to complain of being sick… And to freedom we owe a debt of gratitude to those who lost their lives in defense of it.

In honor of Memorial Day, I’d like to share a couple of photos DirtMan took back in 04 at Arlington National Cemetery.

And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. ~Lee Greenwood

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. ~Lee Greenwood

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.  ~Joseph Campbell

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. ~Joseph Campbell

On Being Paralyzed By Panic

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  ~Joseph Campbell

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Have you ever skirted the edge of safety, danced with danger? Have you stood upon the precipice with trembling knees and racing heart? Was the excitement so strong you could taste it? Did you find yourself holding your breath?

Most of the “firsts” in life feel this way for me. I’ve always been a person who craves security. Change has always been a challenge for me.  In the last few years I’ve taken lots of baby steps in hopes of ever so slightly expanding my world.

Two of my biggest obstacles were my fear of heights and the vulnerability of others reading my writing. While I haven’t gone sky diving, I have scaled the ledges of some huge mountains out west…I scrambled frantically at times, but I survived.  I released my words to the world…I was rejected by some and embraced by others. I’ve attempted many other small hurdles, and not only endured but broadened my horizon and met wonderful people along the way.

Ideas poke and prod me. Voices scream at me. Synchronicity comes and goes. I often resist these nudges. Sometimes they remain unnoticed until the opportunity passes. I have found most of the things I resist are the very things I need the most. Why? Human nature, fear, not really sure. I’ve been told if I look the fear head on with understanding it’s easier to conquer. Yes, identifying the fear is half the battle. I have friends who use the “what if…worst scenario” questioning to move beyond the anxiety. I’ve learned to breathe deeply and slowly  while simply placing one foot in front of the other. While I will never be considered a dare devil, I have the courage to take chances and open myself to allow change.

Have you ever been paralyzed by panic? What did you do to make your way through? Did you find it wasn’t as big of a deal as your mind had portrayed it to be? Tell us your story.

When Words Lead Us Home

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” ~Mahatma Gandi

This flower caught my eye…We are fragile souls living in a sometimes heartless world. Though we may be broken or torn, we are each (hearts, bodies, and souls) beautiful in our own right.

This flower caught my eye…We are fragile souls living in a sometimes heartless world. Though we may be broken or torn, we are each (hearts, bodies, and souls) beautiful in our own right.

Yesterday’s post was not meant to say I won’t be posting…it was an explanation of where I’ve been. We all know there is no timing or method to my posting. I prefer to post because I have something to say, not to post just to say something. Of course, I have many draft files, but those are not always what my heart is saying at the time.

Today’s Musing:

The words we write in the margins are often the most important words of all. Those words are the heart of the matter, and the rest is simply art; beautification, adornment used to make sense of the emotion.

Whether we are writing or reading we often jot down what stirs us. These are the passages we go back to time and again. We meditate on them, explore them, elaborate on them, and allow them to lead us where they will.

We live life much the same way. We trust in our beliefs and morals to guide us. No matter where we go we come back to these.

Your soul places words upon your life. Read the writing on your heart and see where it takes you.

Upon A Drift In Time

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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Perhaps to some it appears I have withdrawn from society. Perhaps to a degree I temporarily have. I have retreated to the quiet zone, to a place of listening. I have entered sacred territory, the heart of relationship. Living in relationship has nothing to do with being thrust into the midst of the world.

As you know, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Some meditate. Some pray. Others create art, listen to music, read, dance, or walk in nature. We absorb ourselves where we are led. We do what feeds us. I’m doing a bit of it all as I am called. We all need times of quiet solitude.

I am not absent…I am reentering the flow…

Star Gazing

"Star trails cut by contrails" This is a compilation of 200 frames at 20 second intervals. Taken before the Last Quarter Moon rise. f-2.8, 15 seconds, 1600 ISO

“Star trails cut by contrails”
This is a compilation of 200 frames at 20 second intervals. Taken before the Last Quarter Moon rise.
f-2.8, 15 seconds, 1600 ISO

“You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.” ~Thomas Traherne

My husband has chased the stars for years. When our kids were little he’d pack up the van, bundle the kids in warm clothes (in winter)  and head out to various locations to watch for a view of orbiting space stations, comets, meteor showers, or any other night sky visual of interest. Dirt Man subscribes to various astronomy type web pages, so he has always “been in the know” of these celestial events. Often we headed to the beach or to the mountains. Other times a dark parking lot or open field in the country sufficed. The kids and I found it exciting the first few times, but after a few trips and only a short flash of said intended object, if indeed we even had a good view, we were done.

The kids grew up, so I’m the one left to accompany him on these outings. However, the grown children are quite interested, especially if it involves viewing from the computer and not having to go anywhere with us! Surprisingly, I’ve grown to appreciate these fieldtrips.

Dirt Man’s new obsession has become photographing the night sky. We started out photographing the moon which I was able to participate with my own camera. Now it is the actual stars, and I must say it is fascinating. While it’s amazing what can be seen with the naked eye when you’re in a place with little to no light pollution, what is captured by the camera lens is tenfold.

I enjoy sitting or lying beneath the stars and watching celestial shows. Sometimes I think I see blinking stars or UFOs, but these usually prove to be airplanes. We catch sight of falling stars. I can identify the Milky Way and sometimes the Big and Little Dippers. Otherwise my guesses at constellations are usually wrong, but I am thrilled my husband is knowledgeable of these things. I love the sensation of sitting beneath the vast heavens and watching life unfold in the darkness.  I’m just a tiny speck in the universe, yet I get the distinct feeling my small part is important, that I am somehow connected to something so much bigger than I am able to comprehend.

The video below is about three hours of frames, one shot taken every twenty seconds and then compiled to a movie. You’re able to see some planes go through and also some shooting stars. It’s exciting to detect the movement of stars and planets which is not otherwise visible to the eye. If you put it on full scream the effect is even better. I hope you’ll take the time to watch…it’s less than a minute long and most likely not something you see often.

Spin Cycle:Obsession

Humor Just Makes Sense!

A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, Overflows, and bubbles all around. – Carolyn Birmingham

laughing with Theresa, Peggy, and Ange at DB!

This photo was taken a few nights ago. I don’t remember who said what or even what we were laughing about at the time, but it captures our mood for the majority of the night.

I did a lot of laughing this past weekend. Some chuckles were brought on by memories, others by the hilarity of the moment. Giggling is good for the soul. It cleanses and restores simultaneously. There is just something about being in the midst of family and good friends that eases us and lets the warmth rise to the surface. We feel lighter, less insecure, and just downright happy. In those few days my stresses melted and my mood soared…I love being around people who bring this out in me.

Are there people in life who bring out the best in you? People you are completely at ease with? People who you feel happy being around? Don’t you just wish we could be around those people all the time?

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron