A Christmas Blessing

How has your Christmas been going so far?

I can honestly say that this is the very best Christmas season I have ever experienced. And not because of presents or gifts, but because of a change in my thought process. The best gift I have ever received was the gift of a good study habit. Nothing changes unless we make the effort. We do the work. We can sit still and let things just happen to us, or we can decide to see everything in a new light of creation…everything that went before has helped make me into the person I am today, and being able to be thankful for that, instead of feeling victimized, has been truly freeing and uplifting.

I have been able to be serene and calm enough to recognize God’s workings in my life. The hints, suggestions, happenings, etc.

I have always struggled with feelings of not feeling worthy of happiness and  success.

But just recently, someone from my past contacted me. From more than 30 years ago. Someone I really cared about. Someone who I had influenced way more than I would have ever thought possible. And they said that I was a nice person. That I was nice to everybody. Thirty years ago I was nice to every body? And that made we wonder where the unworthiness came from?

When I think about it, I think of how, over the years, I have often been so totally disconnected from my inner being. From the God inside of me. And of course, at those times, I did not realize that my disconnectedness was what was causing my fear, my depression, my anxiety. Trying to please people who despised their own selves and who could never love me. Who could never trust me. Who could never be happy with me.

But, this is not a sad post. It is a HAPPY post. I am praising God today because of the revelations. I will not live in the past, but choose instead to expand and live fully in every moment I have left on Earth. Sometimes our pasts can remind us that we were always worthy. That we will always be worthy of the richness of the life that we were gifted with.

I plan to go forward and make the most of the time I have left. How about you? Will you allow this day to be the day you move forward, instead of backwards? What is on your gratitude list this morning? If you haven’t made one yet, I suggest you do.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

 

Calm

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How About A Little Chill Pill?

So, I was reading a little Hemmingway last night, “The Torrents of Spring” to be exact. My 1972 Charles Scriber’s and Sons version of the story has been sitting unread on my book shelves for years. Or, more acurately, it has been lying somewhere in the middle of a dusty pile of books in the attic, until just recently, when I got a new glass fronted china hutch-turned-bookshelf at the antique store where I sell soap and work twice a month. Now, finally, the book sits amidst other classic books on a proper shelf where it can be found without hours of fruitless searching.

I made it through the first chapter before sleep got the better of me, and I set it aside to pick up again this morning. But all night, I kept waking with this burning question in my mind.

“Is it really possible for a human being, or two human beings to be exact, to stay drunk for four days straight”?

Or even longer?

Or is this just one of those techniques Hemmingway used to add depth and character to his story? You know…one of those things that keep a person wondering just enough to make sure they keep coming back to the book, and perhaps even trying their own four day bender at some point.

“Sometimes they drank for a week at a time. It did them good. It made Scripps strong.”

This post certainly isn’t attempting to analyse Hemmingway’s story. But perhaps his technique is something to be scrutinized. I’ve been thinking about this all night. Could I really stay drunk for a week? Would liquor make me strong? Would it do me good? Enrich my life? Make me smart?

I do know the answers, which is why, I suppose, that the questions stay in my mind for so long. I know the effects of alcohol on the human body….you have to sleep off the effects at some point. And strength, as far as I know, has always been hindered by the bottle.

I don’t know why this subject has gotten me all riled up this morning. Maybe because unless a story is of the science fiction or magical realism genre, it really should be truthful? Or maybe there are actually some people who can become stronger with a heightened sense self through drinking alcohol?

Irreguardless,  I think I will just relax  and not focus on details that seem far-fetched, and finish up the story. It’s a good one.

But of course. It’s Hemmingway.

Relax

Farewell Fight

(Flash Fiction Challenge For Aspiring Writers)

I was twelve years old that night. It was hot and the mosquitoes buzzed around my bare shoulders and back. I was covered with small, itchy welts. My bike was old and the front tire mostly flat, but peddling was faster than walking or even running, and the mosquitoes only bit when I slowed or stopped.

My brother, Josiah, had been in fight and he had hit the boy and the boy fell hard against a concrete statue in our yard and his head had cracked open and some of his brains were leaking out. I was sent to fetch the village doctor, in hopes the boy could be stitched back together and saved.

As I sat on my bicycle and looked down the street, wondering, in the moonlit night, which house the doctor lived in, I could hear  sirens off in the distance. Police sirens. And I knew. They were coming for my brother.

And I missed him already.

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Photo provided by Maria at Maria@Scribbles and Doodles

To see more flash fiction stories using this picture prompt, click  here

My Dog Smells Good

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“My dog smells good”. This statement is at the top of my list of positive affirmations, blessings, things I like, list for today. In fact, it is the only thing on the list at the moment. …But wait, let me add a few more.

My pony’s little whinny is so cute.

My house is warm.

I woke up without a headache.

I am in excellent health and physical condition.

I love my dining room curtains.

Positive affirmations are not new to me, but recently, I’ve taken them much more seriously. Normally I go to sleep thinking about problems and wake up thinking about the same problems, or even more problems.  Recently, however, I have been waking up in the mornings and writing lists of things I like, things that are going well, or what the solutions to problems might look like. For instance, instead of complaining to myself about the mud everywhere right now, I am concentrating on the solutions to the mud problem, and seeing the new mud-free version of things in my mind.

I was driving in the rain yesterday, in a run-down area of town, and I realized that in the past, I had tried to do everything from a place of lack. I identified as a victim of various things, spousal/partner abuse, poverty, low self-esteem, lack of friends, etc. I was listening to an audio book while driving, and when I heard that we are all born worthy, and have nothing to prove to anyone, my life kind of flashed before my eyes. I drove past piles of trash in yards, broken windows, and dilapilated houses. I saw people walking down the street, with pain on their faces. I could see that same sense of lack, that same sense of unworthiness that I had so often felt, an unworthiness that husbands/partners/bosses, were only too eager to agree to, and point out to me, and I wanted to stop the car, get out and shake them, and tell them how worthy they were, and that this sense of worthlessness that they were feeling was not what they were born for. I wanted to tell them how like attracts like, and the more negative things they kept their focus on, the more negative things would show up. I wanted to tell them to focus their energies on all that was good in their lives, and what they wanted their lives to look like, instead of what their lives actually looked like. I wanted to tell them that you cannot expand and attract more positive things into your life, when all of your energies are focused on your lack. It is hard to learn to think differently.

So very hard.

We are not trained from birth to focus our energies that way.

And so we often trudge through life feeling worse each day, as we grow older and our dreams remain unfulfilled.

Some days, when money is tight and there are other problems, its really hard to focus on our blessings and maintain a positive outlook.

On those days, the lists I have been making have totally changed what could have been a bad day, into a good day.

Yesterday I was getting ready for a Chrismtas party. Usually I make sure the dogs are outside when I get in the shower, but I was in a hurry and forgot to put them out. Tonya, my pit bull LOVES a bath, and  when she heard the water turn on she immediately ran into the bathroom and jumped in the tub. Her feet were muddy, and she needed a bath, but I didn’t really want a dog in the shower with me. She, however, had no intention of getting out, and the thought of a wet dog dripping mud all over the house wasn’t a good one, so I let her stay in the shower and I washed her too, even though it was a much less pleasant shower with a dog trying to catch all the water flowing out of the spout and the shower head. But, we both managed to get clean. Which is why she smells good today. Which is one of the things I’m loving about the day already. A nice clean dog.

Since the dog is clean, I’m washing my sheets and blankets too. And feeling really good about the day already.

I hope you are enjoying your day also, and if you are not, I recommend making lists of all of your blessings and all of the things you would like manifest into your life. Writing them down will give you more and more ideas on how to make them realities. I could go on, but the horses are calling me to get their breakfast. NOW!

So I better get to it!

Anita

 

Conundrum

Another Rainy Day

My dogs just ate my lunch. It was a huge bowl of piping hot, thick, chicken, lentil, and vegetable stew that I had fixed and then sat on the dinning room table to eat. I remembered that I needed to call a wood cutter to order a load of firewood, and turned my attention away from my food a moment too long. Both dogs are sound asleep now, having ate their own bowls of food as well as mine.

It is a cold, wet, grey day outside, but I’m enjoying it. Inside the house it is wood-stove warm, and there is a pan of chicken roasting in the oven. This morning I dressed warmly for chores, and with no wind to speak of, the softly-falling rain gave me inspiration…on where I need to create walkways to the house, which gutters need replacing or removing, and just where to put the loads of gravel in the horse paddocks.. I also realized I am just about out of firewood, hence the need to order a load.

I am no yard expert, but today seemed like a terrific day to over-seed grass in the mostly bare yard around the house. I know I might not appreciate the thicker grass come summer time, but having grass in the yard is preferable to bare dirt, so that’s what I am going for.

There are dozens of tiny birds resting in the trees right outside the front door in the rain. I wonder where they go at night? And do they get cold? I hope they don’t eat all the grass seed I just put down. But if they do, I still have seeds left in the bag, and I will seed again…and be happy to have grass AND birds, come spring of the year.

 

 

My Friend Tonya

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It’s Sunday morning. A cold Sunday morning. Tonya, the pitbull, loves cold mornings because I bring in wood for the fire, and she likes to decorate the house with it. While I am sitting at my laptop doing my morning writing, I keep hearing drops onto the old wood floor of the living room. I shrug it off for awhile, thinking she is playing with some of her heavier toys, like her tire, her five-foot stuffed snake with the plastic head, or her big kong. But nope, when I catch sight of her running past me with a 4 pound log of wood in her mouth, the Pomeranian jumping joyously at her heels, I decide I better investigate, and find she has moved each piece of firewood to a new location.

Two big chuncks are on my bed, one piece is on the bedroom floor, and the rest of them are scattered around the living room. I ask her what in the world she is doing, and she looks proud of herself, then when I give her my displeased look, she sulks off for a moment,  until she thinks I’ve forgotten about her mess, which is usually about 10 seconds, then comes back again ready to play.

When I let them outside, Tonya jumps onto the milk-stand turned dog sofa sitting beside the front door. It used to have two dogs beds on it but Tonya chewed them up so badly they had to be thrown away. Tonya ran out the door, immediately grabbed the board off the milk stand she had un-nailed yesterday and threw it on the ground…happy to have found a chunk of wood to play with once again. I couldn’t help but laugh.

I don’t know if anything could set a day right better than the antics of happy dogs at play. Even digging in the yard, there is something contagious about their enthusiasm and love of life, and of us, even when we are not at our best. Even when we’re grumpy, or mean, or look a mess first thing in the morning, our dogs look at us like we are the most wonderful human in the world. And to that dog, in that moment, we are.

Tonya is in training to be a therapy dog. That was my intention when I got her as a 6 week old puppy. A dog whose breed is often stigmatized unfairly. A dog that is often guilty, unless proven innocent. A dog that I could relate to.

I didn’t set out to change the world’s perception of pitbull dogs, but rather, to prove to myself that the lies others tell about us, that we tell about ourselves, are just that, lies. And to be happy, we just have to…be happy. And no matter what someone has said about us, what lies they’ve told: “you’re not good enough”, “you’re a cheater”, “you are ugly”, “you are worthless”, “you are a dumb-ass whore”, “you make me sick”, “you are one of those horrible people”, etc.  We are reminded that a statement does not equal truth, even if it is directed at us, or our dog, even if our dog is a pitbull. Untruths have no bearing on who we really are.

And then we can breath again.

ps. Tonya has her own instagram page @myantoniathepitbull

Sacred

Of a Smokey Stove and a Cold Morning

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I might say, it’s a wee bit cold in the castle this morning. The chimney is a little clogged but the clean out cap is solidly rusted on…thanks to a chimney sweep who removed the old, cumbersome chimney cap and replaced it with a new version that never kept the rain out, turning the chimney pipe into a steam heater, solidly gluing deposits of burned wood to the sides of the pipe. Summer dried the deposits out and loosened them, and gravity made sure they all fell to the bottom of the pipe, effectively inhibiting the flow of smoke up the chimney.

We have a fire going this morning, but it’s a bit smokey upon opening the stove door. A chimney sweep is being sourced at this time, after my failed attempts at removing the cap as well as the entire lower pipe piece. None of the pipe moves without moving the stove, and I am no match for a 1000 pound wood stove.

The clogged stove pipe reminds me of a few interesting insights I’ve experienced lately, being less focused on my personal problems, and more focused on things that make me feel good, like a clean sink, a swept floor, that sort of thing. It’s funny how that happens. It’s always unexpected, and only happens after you take your focus off the thing you are trying to figure out.

Kind of like a clogged chimney, where the heat and smoke don’t flow freely, and when looked at, back up out of the stove door as soon as it’s opened. When we look at our problems, and focus on them, they clog up our minds and our bodies, making us depressed, anxious, and a bit crazy. But taking the focus OFF of our problems and the things we DON’T like, and focusing instead on the things in our lives we DO like, even little things, or anything else, besides our problems, we clear the way for solutions and answers to flow freely to us, uninhibited.

So, I play games with my five year old grandson with no guilt at all. In the grocery store, we pretend we are crawling through the ductwork in the ceiling, at home we play genies and gems on the computer, get excited over new pokemon we’ve caught or hatched, animate the dogs and stuffed animals, and make up new dances and short plays…

Everyone should have access to a five-year old child. We could all throw away our prozac while constructing an imaginary world that is a lot more fun and less problematic than our “real lives”.

And that is all.

Construct