Ice Skating

I spent the majority of my childhood in Bay Village, OH. Every winter, they would create an outdoor ice skating rink. It was rarely smooth so if you managed to skate on it, you learned some interesting moves!

Five years of my early teens we lived in Darien, CT. One of my friends had an outdoor ice skating rink in her front yard.

Between those two places, I learned to ice skate quite well. I did simple tricks and really enjoyed it.

Then I grew into an adult. I put on skates after 25 years or so and couldn’t even stand up! I assumed it would all come back to me immediately and I’d be out there showing my kids how to do it. Nope. They skated around as natural as can be while I hung onto the side and then gave up and sat with the old folk.

Where had my abilities gone? Thinking back on it, it was probably just my trepidation. Afraid of falling because if I hurt myself, who would care for my kids? That underlying fear of “what if” kept me on the sidelines.

I was reminded of this as I went outside this morning in search of cell phone reception. My driveway is mostly ice and as I negotiated it, I thought of all those carefree winter days when I glided and swung around on ice skates without a thought or care in the world.

I know I can’t go back to those days. My old body isn’t up to it anymore. But there are so many things I don’t do because of the “what if” factor. Yes, there are usually physical consequences to some things I do, but all have been totally worth it.

I challenge you today to do something a little daring. It doesn’t have to be physical, it can be trying a new food, watch a tv show you normally wouldn’t, drink tea instead of coffee or vice versa, try a new exercise or just talk to the person in line next to you at the grocery store. Keep a journal of your new experiences (and don’t exclude the memories in your life related to them and why you tried them) and you’ll be amazed at all the things you’ve done at the end of the year. You’ll have a book to read next New Year’s Day that will motivate you to keep it up every year.

What am I going to do? I’m waffling between signing up for a French course or a photography one. Maybe I’ll do both.

Have a great day!

Worth It

I spent Saturday playing with my almost 8 yr old granddaughter in the snow and inside when we got too cold. We hiked around the woods, ran from invented enemies and fought them off with snowball fights. We made a small snowman that the dogs destroyed immediately and a larger one that was taken out overnight by warmer temps and rain. We hiked up and down the hills in the woods, made tracks in new snow and she played with her Schleich and Breyer horses when I got too tired.
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When her parents came home yesterday, I came back to my own house. And it was good timing as I’d started to suffer from reflux. I had a brief respite so did get some sleep but it’s started up again today. Unfortunately, this is normal after a burst of activity.

Just look at the little girl’s face. Any amount of suffering I go through now is nothing compared the look of happiness on that sweet girl. She’s used to me not being able to play with her when my pain level is high or I’m nauseous. She told her mom that “Grandma won’t play in the snow, she’ll just drink all the hot cocoa”! I surprised and delighted her by getting out there and actively playing. (And, no, I did not drink all the hot cocoa!!) I’d do it again in a heartbeat (and I will if it snows again). I’d do anything for those I love.

What sacrifices have you made for your loved ones? My daughters have made many on my behalf since I got worse. My grandchildren have gotten used to me just watching them play on bad days instead of getting right in there with them. I know and appreciate their understanding as they know and appreciate all I do for them.

Today, I am embracing my discomfort as tangible proof of my love. It is totally worth it.

Home

There’s something about being home that makes you feel safe. That nothing can hurt me here. Nothing can go wrong.

False sense of security, I know. But the feeling persists and I’m glad. I pull into my driveway and immediately feel safe, welcomed, loved. Walking in the door, I’m surrounded by things that have special meaning and memories to me. I change into comfy, old clothes and shed my troubles.

Even though they come with me. I can’t leave my pain behind but I can occupy myself with things to distract me from it. When other symptoms go haywire, the privacy I need is here. My home is truly my sanctuary.

I hope everyone has that experience with their living space. That it’s not just a place to stay but a place that truly feels comfortable and loving. If it’s not, I challenge you to find a way to make it better. Even if it’s just a soft blanket to snuggle under to make you feel safe and warm.

I wish you all a safe haven and a wonderful day!

Sisters

I’ve just spent a few days with one of my four sisters in St Louis. Having so many sisters, I tend to take them for granted. There’s always someone to talk to or email or text who will care, offer advice or just listen. They are more than sisters-they are my very best friends.

As different as we are, each of us tend to have common characteristics. With the one I just saw, we order almost exactly the same food in restaurants. Another in NC, we both love doing crafts. Another in FL, we share the same sense of humor. One in OH, we tend to share the same views on life. Of course, it’s not just one sister who shares the same characteristics, all are a mix of everything. Our differences just make our get togethers more fun because we aren’t clones of each other.

But, we share the same history, the same memories, the same love. So does my brother but he tends to shy away from our female gatherings. Enough can’t be said about our parents who raised us to love each other and stand by each other. They were wonderful parents and taught us how to be.

I hope my family knows what they mean to me. Today’s challenge is to never take a single one of them for granted again. They won’t always be here-as I won’t. I will never let an opportunity go by to tell them what place they hold in my heart. I hope all of you will also take up this challenge. You don’t have to like everything your siblings do but don’t allow that to eat away your love for each other.

May peace and love fill your day.

Refresh and Renew

I have a bad habit of holding onto things I no longer use or need. I make plans that I can’t possibly follow through with. My home and life are cluttered with all these things and causing me stress. While there are times I’m honest with myself and recognize that fact, the rest of the year, I make excuses.

Several months ago, I decluttered and removed from my home many things I no longer need. What’s left are craft supplies and books for the most part. If I live another 20 years, I may be able to make use of it all and read all those books. The prognosis is not that good, though. So why do I still hold onto all these things and keep adding to my library?

As I read three or four books at a time, I also work on as many crafts. It keeps me sane and gives my days focus. But what I’m beginning to realize is that it’s also causing me stress being surrounded by all these things “waiting” for me. These items are taking up a large amount of space in my small home and also in my mind.

Time for a major clear out. As I finish packing up the last of my Christmas things, I will being the process of removing books it’s doubtful I will ever read and craft items that don’t have a specific purpose. I won’t hold onto things for “someday” because there is no guarantee someday will come.

As I empty my storage, it will give me back space in my small home. As I regain space, I hope to fill it with people instead of things. I’ve become a hermit, seeing only my family and a friend or two occasionally. That suits me as my illness necessitates that often but deep down, I know that’s not good for me. Humans are meant to interact. I need to work harder on allowing people into my life and if there is room, into my home. So I will make room.

This is my challenge and it may be one you also need. I don’t expect to make these changes quickly and it will be a painful process letting go of more dreams. But I hope the reward exceeds any expectations and to that goal, I will keep moving forward. Life is too short to spend it in self imposed isolation.

 

Fear

Several years ago, our dog became terrified of the sound of gunshots. Her fear sends her racing to my house, paws and face pressed against my door’s window.

20181031_144617While it’s very endearing and adorable too see her suddenly appear, it hurts my heart that she’s so frightened. We live in the country and people often shoot guns at game in season or just target practice for fun.

This morning, when she appeared out of nowhere, it made me think about fear. Hers is an unsubstantiated fear. One that stems from an imagined danger. How often do I have that sort of fear? Honestly, quite often. Fear that something dreadful may happen to myself or a loved one. Fear that I may not have enough money to cover my expenses. Fear that my car may break down. Fear that my body will fail me in public. Those are just a few examples.

If I let my fear consume me, as it does out beloved dog, I would never have the nerve to leave my house, spend one penny over the necessities of life, never drive outside a certain radius of my home… Everything I enjoy would be out of bounds.

So I refuse to let fear drive me. When my daughter and I have gone on trips abroad, my other daughters and family were terrified with the “what if’s”. But nothing dire has happened and if it does, it will occur while I’m out living life to the fullest.

That’s my New Year’s resolution-to continue to do so. Not to let fear have any say in my decisions. I’m not foolish in the things I do and plan for catastrophic events but once I have a back up plan, I let go of the fear and enjoy myself. My challenge to you is to try and do the same this year. Keep a healthy amount of fear so you don’t do anything foolish without a safety net, but don’t let it control your actions.

I wish you a wonderful 2019! I’m off to sit with my dog on my porch for awhile. She’s calmed down since I did that earlier but she deserves more special attention. And she returns that attention to me as well. Unconditional love is never to be taken for granted.

Little Things

My family gathered yesterday for gift giving and dinner to celebrate Christmas. With all the large gifts under that tree, it amazed me that the smallest (and usually cheapest!) gifts were the ones that brought the most joy and excitement.

That’s a reminder to me that it’s really not the cost that counts as much as the thought that’s put into each gift. My four year old grandson was literally shaking with happiness when he opened a little truck from Dollar Tree! A tiny horse earned me a huge hug from my 7 year old granddaughter. Silly gifts to my son-in-laws earned lots of laughs throughout the day and board games provided many hours of fun and joy. That’s just a few examples of the little things that made yesterday so special. No one was adding up what was spent on each person or upset if one got one more present than another.

So my challenge today is to take that reminder with me through the year. To remember to be grateful and bring the excitement of children into everything I do. That innocent, childhood joy is a gift that can be passed on. Your joy, your responses to adversity and troubles can be an inspiration to others and they can learn from you as I have from my family. I choose happiness no matter my circumstances. I don’t need money to be happy. I don’t need health to be happy. All I need is life itself to be happy.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. I wish you all joy and happiness today and everyday.