Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Give and Take of Change

In my ever advancing years, I have actually picked up a bit of wisdom/knowledge along the way. One of the things that I have learned is that everything has a give and take, all actions have consequences and most importantly.....we must own our choices regardless of the outcomes. Possibly though, the most important piece of knowledge that I have become aware of are never too old for change. 

Sometimes change is forced upon us through no fault of our own. That change is not always what we immediately view as positive and therefore, we fight it tooth and nail. Other change though, can happen deliberately or inadvertently through our own actions. If you change jobs mid career and start down a whole new path, that is deliberate change. However, if you go out with a questionable boy, he takes you to a convenience store and robs it and you end up in jail for a couple years as an accessory to the crime, then that is inadvertently. You know you went out with a questionable boy (your choice), but you never saw the robbery or the jail sentence coming. In either case, there are lessons to be learned and if learned and learned well, it is a stepping stone into the future.

Of late, I have finally been making the changes that I have only been talking about for years. The changes are coming in all forms; physical, spiritual, name it. Through these changes, I am learning more about myself and recognizing things that I never saw before. Some work in progress lessons I am learning are: God is always there and I certainly don't give Him the respect or the recognition that He deserves, I can lose weight and be healthy at the same time, my voice doesn't have to be loud to be heard and finally.......there are things worth fighting for and things that simply suck the life out of you. You have to know the difference. I have also picked up on a few other things about myself too. I have a very creative brain with many thoughts and ideas always swirling at once. It can make for a very chaotic thought process at times. More sleep and less stress seem to help it. I have two speeds; lazy and obsessive compulsive. Neither work for me so I am working on a third speed that allows me to meet somewhere in the middle that will not drive myself or my family crazy. Wish me luck!  And finally, I have learned that time really does have a healing quality that nothing else in this world has. I am thankful for that.

Yes, it has been a lot to learn in just a few short months, but I was always much better at cramming to learn than stretching it out over time. Contrary to what we are told in school, those quick and compact lessons seem to have a more lasting affect on me than their slower counter parts.

Don't get me is not perfect and we still struggle, pray and try to give back whenever possible, but I am not a victim and I am no longer allowing self pity and frustration to be the key players in my life. I am trying to own and take control of my life, redirecting myself into a better path. I am trying to use my powers of creativity for good and I am finally getting confident enough to believe that possibly I can even sell my ideas and creativity to others in the form of businesses. Anyone need their laundry done? How about a phenomenal cheesecake? No.....I really do make phenomenal cheesecakes.......and I own that!!!!

My new found life and changes keep me going in many different directions and unfortunately......sometimes all at the same time. I am still new to all of this and trying to find the balance that allows me time to grow, time to lose, time to get and stay healthy, time to take care of the people and things I need to, time to help others and yes.....even time to blog, is not always easy. As we slide into the final months of this year, the year that quite frankly started out as one of my worst, I find myself looking forward to the holidays. I know that the momentum will only pick up and chaos is likely to ensue from time to time, but I think I am totally capable of holding my own and embracing sugar plums and decorating while running to doctors and redoing the basement. Yeah...I got this! (nervous laugh)

My life is my own now. Yes, it affects other people too but, my choices are mine as are their consequences. I know there will be accomplishments and failures ahead as well as happy times and not so happy times and wins and losses, but the important thing is, that I am learning and I am changing. It is all part of the give and take of change and becoming self aware......and honestly, I am finding myself eternally grateful for it all. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Birthdays and Such

So today is about birthdays and such. birthday. You see, the other day, I turned 52! Like my weight, that is a number that I seldom admit to. It seems though in the last few months, I am no longer hiding behind numbers, fears, anxiety or anything else that has in the past held me hostage. Now....I just roll with it all.

This year was such a different birthday because it just sort of came and went. In the past I would have been filled with anxiety, sadness, expectation and then the inevitable let down that it was all over and all I had to show for it was more grey hair and the thought that I had used up another year of my life. WOW! For someone who never thought of herself as a negative person....that just screams negativity.

As I said, this years birthday just came and went. My day was spent taxiing children to appointments. By 5 p.m., after lifting David and his wheelchair in and out of the van numerous times, all my body wanted was a comfy place to lie down....and that is how I spent my evening, lying down in front of the TV! The day held no pomp and circumstance. I got a few birthday calls and many birthday wishes via Facebook....and quite frankly.....that all just made my day. There is something special about knowing that another human being on the planet, takes a few minutes out of their own busy life and acknowledges you. Yes, I know Facebook prompts birthdays, but just because it is there doesn't mean you have to take the time to comment. People did though and it touched me.

It was funny. As I found myself driving back into Wichita for the third time in one day, I couldn't help but be truly grateful. I was grateful knowing that all my kids and grandkids were healthy and happy. I was grateful that I had a roof over my head and a car that could get me back and forth and most of all....I was grateful that I was healthy enough to lift my 80 lb son in and out of the car as well as his wheelchair. At 52, it was not lost on me that middle age is here and although, I have dreaded it, I know feel very blessed to be a part of the over fifty crowd.

Life has changed a lot for me in the last year. I have had my world turn inside out and felt like I was at the end of my rope so many times....and yet here I still stand. This time last year I was a ball of mixed emotions both excited about and dreading Davids upcoming surgery. After the surgery it was months of hospital and ER adventures. Z went through his nightmares. Financially we have come close to the brink numerous times. We have survived backyard construction, the start of school and and a few unexpected and unwelcome situations......and yet the family has remained in tact!

Through all of the ups and downs and uncertainty of the last year.....somewhere along the line, I quit fearing everything. My voice has gotten louder and I have even lent it out on occasions. I have fought numerous battles and won....and most of all, I finally realized that I am just as important as anyone else in my life. Because of that, I had to start taking care of me. Amazingly, it has not been as hard as I thought it might be.

I don't know if this has all been brought on by true wisdom, or simply trial and error, but whatever the case, I am now becoming more comfortable with who I am and how I feel about me. I finally faced the real me and decided to embrace what I liked about myself and change what I didn't. There is something very empowering about that.....and at the same time, terribly intimidating to some of those around me. Perhaps they should fear the 52 year old me. (snicker snicker snicker)

Yeah, I am now another year older. It's really not that bad. In fact, if things keep heading in their current direction, I might even go as far as to say.....52 seems to have the potential for being one of my best years so far. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Kansas Girl

 Photo by: Robert Baker

Life is a whirlwind, but I am busy and quite happy. The only thing missing is this right here! Today I decided to take a few minutes and do a little blog therapy since blogging has been shoved aside of late for silly little things like responsibilities, appointments and the necessities of daily life. Balance is the key and like all keys, I have lost it. I have said a prayer to St. Anthony to help me find it and hopefully like all my other keys, this one will turn up too. If the St. Anthony part threw you, not to worry. It's a Catholic thing. (wink)

So years ago, I was privileged to spend the early part of December in Florida. As I boarded the plane in St. Louis to leave, it was cold, sleeting and they had to de-ice the plane before we could take off. I was dressed in about 10 layers of clothing, trying to stay warm and as we landed in the Sunshine State, I was so thankful for those layers as I began to de-layer myself right there in the airport. Just a few hours earlier it was in the teens with a bitterly cold northern wind blowing and white sleet all around us. Now though, it was in the high 70's, a bit of humidity, sunshine and palm trees all around us. It was then and there that I decided that I could easily be a Florida girl. The only things stopping me from packing my bags and relocating (I was also a poor girl) and more importantly........Fall.

It was glorious to spend seven days in that beautiful state and I loved that it was December and I was wearing shorts. The days were very warm and the nights were comfortable. We even got a thunderstorm very reminiscent of our Kansas spring storms. It was amazing, but very heavy handed with what amounted to only one real season. As much as I love the warm and balmy, 365 days of the basically same stuff might be a bit of overkill. When I finally got back to Kansas and the proper 20 degrees, cold and ice, it somehow just felt right. That is when I realized I was a season girl.

Kansas takes a lot of ribbing for it's flat plains and it's distinction for being non-distinctive to those who have never been here, but say what you will, it is also one of the few states that enjoy true seasons and the individual beauty that each season brings. Most states are pretty unbalanced having only one maybe two actual seasons. However, step into Kansas and regardless of the time of year, you are stepping into a season.

While most of you who know me or read my blogs know that I favor some seasons far more than others and you also know that I am not at all a fan of winter. That being said, I do however appreciate winter for its season and for what it brings to the table in the big scheme of the seasons. Kansas winters can at times rival our northern brothers in cold and ice. Throw in our notorious winds and the wind chills can make frostbite an inevitability if you are outside too long. The only thing we don't share with our northern kin is our snowfall amounts. Usually we don't get more than a foot to two feet in a season.....and that is just fine with me. By the time spring begins to show itself, most of us Kansans are ready to bid a not-so fond farewell to winter.

Spring is one of my two favorite Kansas seasons. From the first signs of new life pushing up through the ground, the warmer days and the subtle change in the air, I shed my winter sulk and begin to enjoy this new season. My favorite part though.....our famous Kansas storms. There is nothing that invigorates me more than the first storm of the season. There is something about the heat, humidity and the electricity (both literally and figuratively) in the air that stirs the blood. Maybe it is the sense of possible danger that looms behind every roll of thunder and every lightening strike or maybe it is just the cleansing you feel as the storm moves on, but whatever it is, Kansas storms are special and they make me long for them the other nine months out of the year.

Kansas summers are full of heat, humidity, wheat fields, blue skies and they are what every Kansas child dreams of in the long cold months of winter. Our temperatures can at times rival our warmer siblings with temps soaring as high as a 110, but it is seldom a dry heat as we have the humidity of the genteel south too. Because of this combination, there are days when 95 degrees can feel more like a 105 and be quite dangerous too. All in all though, this weather makes for long leisurely days by the pool and many endless outdoor evenings looking up at the stars.

However, the best time of the year (only rivaled by spring) and the main reason I will only ever be a Florida girl in my mind, is because of Fall! Fall in Kansas is special to me. There is something so wonderful about that feeling, when you know that the summer heat has finally broken and the days cool to the 60's while the nights cool to a chill. There is true beauty as the  leaves begin to turn and on certain days, the sky is such a deep blue against a sun whose heat becomes less and less that it is cause for amazing spiritual joy. The colors dazzle with their reds, violets, oranges, yellows and browns and your steps crackle as the leaves dried and brittle crunch under your feet. There are football games, bonfires, mittens and coats. Most of all, there are mornings like this.

The rain is drizzling outside my window and their is a chill in the air. Looking out the window, I watch as the world prepares for the changing of the seasons and the trees and plants prepare for a long sleep, I feel happy. It is a warm slipper, pumpkin latte, cozy blanket kind of day. It is a curl up, read a book and blog kind of day. It is a warm house, apple cider, pot of chili kind of day. It is a Kansas Fall kind of day.......and one of the many reasons that I love my home.

Yes, the upcoming winter will be too cold. Snow will drive me to distraction and next summer I will curse the heat, but at the end of the day.....I am a Kansas girl and Kansas is where I think I'll stay.

Happy "Fall" Monday!