referring time…

I have referred, more than once, to posts written by Wic, at Letters To Pogue.

It’s not just because sometimes I find them amusing (and he shares some good music every now and then), or because they are well written (and for the large part, well researched) but also because most of the time I find them to be incredibly thought provoking. And I guess I am a girl who likes to think – especially if it sometimes means being able to avoid doing the dishes πŸ˜›

Now… I have to say… unfortunately there are times where doing the dishes becomes a ‘priority’. And usually it’s because I open the cupboard and there isn’t a single plate to use – only to discover, after washing and packing away, that half the dishes are still missing… and can usually be found in my teenage daughters bedroom! FORK! No, I am not swearing… just reiterating that I also usually find where all my forks have gone too! πŸ˜›
Anyway…
So dishes become a ‘priority’ – but not one by choice, more out of necessity. Which I guess turns them into a commitment/responsibility?
Please stay with me here… the point is coming – like the full fork drawer πŸ˜›

Wic offers up a ‘Monday Musing’ post which is always worth checking out πŸ˜‰ Yesterday’s post was definitely worth ME reading. (Might be helpful to the rest of the world out there too.)

I am pretty sure it was a personal dig at me πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜› Have you ever done that? Identified so much with something that you stop and go, ”hey, should I be offended? I’m sure they mean me!” I am laughing here, because it’s ridiculous! But is it? Here’s the thing – sometimes we identify with something so much because it was exactly what we needed to ‘hear’… and perhaps there are changes we need to make. And some are more drastic than others – and not so pleasant. In this case (and maybe I missed the point – or maybe it is just different for me – or maybe my mind is still processing and avoiding dishes πŸ˜› ) it was very much an ‘adjust your thought pattern and watch what you say and how you say it’ moment.

I am not particularly fond of the word ‘priority’. It’s defined as ‘the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important than others’. It’s no wonder so many people get offended by it!

And it’s no wonder we are often made to feel guilty and ashamed of what we have ‘chosen’ to do with our time.

By the same token, perhaps we also need to practice a little more understanding and compassion with others regarding theirs?

Not everyone who says to us, ”Sorry, I can’t, I just don’t have time”, is trying to tell us that we have no importance in their lives.
Personally? I would prefer that they keep their job, or give their attention to their children/husband, or spend some time refilling their soul.
It doesn’t mean that I am not important to them, or that I have ‘less value’ in their life. It just means that they have other commitments and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

Time is also the one thing we can never get back once it has gone. And I was reminded that I personally need to remember to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ when someone shares a piece of theirs with me. So a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my own ‘personal musings’- sorry, Wic πŸ˜‰

So those are just my thoughts on that… and in closing, I found this, which was very appropriate πŸ˜›

And in case you are wondering… I have TWO dogs πŸ˜›

What’s your superpower?

I’m sure we all have many πŸ˜‰ except they wouldn’t get us into any comic books πŸ˜›

I read this little story again this morning, and wanted to share it with you :

”A well-respected speaker began a seminar by showing an audience of 150 people a crisp $20 bill. He asked, β€œWho wants this $20 bill?”

All 150 people nodded.

He said, β€œI am going to give this money to someone, but first….” Then he proceeded to crumple the bill up.

He asked the crowd again if anyone wanted it.

All 150 hands went up in the air.

The speaker then dropped the money on the floor and stomped all over it.

He then raised it in the air to show the crowd. The money was filthy.

β€œDoes anyone want it now?”

Every hand went up.

The speaker proceeded to tell the crowd that no matter what he did to ruin the money, people still wanted it because its value remained the same. It was still worth $20.

The moral of the story?

Life often beats us up to the point where we feel inadequate. We deal with bad circumstances and make bad choices that we have to deal with later. However, no matter what you go through,Β your value will remain the same. You have something special to offer that no one can take away from you.

Here’s hoping that you all remember, no matter what, you STILL HAVE VALUE! You are still worthy! You are incredible! And….

So keep trying to be the best version of you that you can be πŸ˜‰

my 4 ways to manage my stress

The stress management list is endless. And I find it to be yet another one of those lists with copious access to tools and ways, but they don’t all work – well, not for me, anyway.
The ones that help me may not necessarily help you. Why? Once again, it’s that necessity to acknowledge that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!

The 4 ways I am going to list here are things that work FOR ME. You’ve probably heard them before, but here’s a refresher anyway πŸ˜‰
And if you’ve never tried them, then it might be worth doing so πŸ˜‰
It works the same as it does with my kids πŸ˜› I always say : ”Don’t tell me you can’t do it, or don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it.” πŸ˜‰

You know the saying, ”Dance like no one is watching”? Well, I take it one step further, and I also laugh like everyone is watching me dance πŸ˜›
I’m not a great dancer. The last time I did ‘official dancing’ was when I went into high school, and I was still taking ballet lessons. I am still sort of able to co-ordinate though, and so if you teach me a dance, I can usually manage it. But there are just some moves my body can’t do. I’ve had to accept that… which is frustrating for my dancing daughter who finds it all ‘so easy’. I think she sometimes forgets I am not 16 anymore πŸ˜›
But even as I am getting older, I have found that in moments of severe stress, if a lively dance number (yes, ‘the kids of today’ have awful taste in lyrics, but there’s normally a great beat πŸ˜‰ ) busting a move (without busting my back πŸ˜› ) usually reduces that stress almost instantly πŸ˜‰
The problem doesn’t go away, but after a couple of songs, I am definitely in a happier place and better able to tackle it.

Fresh air and sunshine can be tough when you don’t see the sun all that much. And I guess that with all the pollution in the air these days, ‘fresh’ air is a little less likely. But I think you know what I mean.
Here’s what I have found : when I am feeling severely stressed, sometimes ‘stepping away’, even just for a few minutes, can be very beneficial. Except that for me, I need to be aware of ‘where’ I am stepping to. Closing myself in my bedroom with the curtains drawn just brings on more negative emotions, and pretty much only serves to increase my stress levels.
So while some of us may like the idea of a good old door slam (I have a teenage daughter – just a tip real quick : she hasn’t slammed the door since the time I told her ‘next time you do that I am taking it off its hinges and you won’t have a bedroom door’- and showed her the screwdriver I have to prove that I could πŸ˜› ) closing ourselves off completely, without sufficient air and light, can cause more problems than our initial intention of reducing our stress.

A few years ago, I watched an incredible short video, to motivate students in order to be able to ‘have the best for their future’. It was really fantastic, and there were plenty things in there that I found beneficial. But there was one part that had me shaking my head. He advocated for pulling all-nighters, claiming that ‘if you want it bad enough, you will sacrifice sleep for it’. My reply, in my head, was this : what’s the point of getting it if you won’t be able to enjoy it, or it ends up making you physically ill? Because THAT’S ME!
Extensive medical research shows that as adults, we should be getting 7 – 9 hours sleep a night. I wish this was possible, every night. Realistically, it isn’t. However….
Something I AM VERY disciplined on is my bedtime (much to most people’s horror πŸ˜› ) … and ensuring that I get at least 7 hours sleep a night.
I know myself, and I do not respond well to ‘lack of sleep’. Not. At. All.
But I also know many people, personally, who manage to function quite successfully on just 4 hours a night.
We need to make sure that we get enough sleep – the amount that is right for US – and make a conscious effort to make it happen! Because being well-rested definitely helps when stress comes along.
As does having moments when we unplug! Achieving the ‘unplugging for a day’ thing is really difficult in today’s world. But it also depends on your definition of ‘unplugging’. For me? It means this :
Not ignoring messages, but responding with something like, ”Can we talk tomorrow, please? I just really need today to focus on some other things. I’m fine, promise! I’ll message you in the morning.”
Staying off social media – and if there is something I really need to look up, then that is all I will go and do. Even though there is a lot of inspirational and motivational encouragement that awaits me there, it is too easy to get caught up in all the ‘other stuff’, and so I choose to just try and avoid it completely.
Choosing what I do with my time on that day – there are some commitments and responsibilities that cannot be adjusted, and so I have to fulfill those obligations. But for the rest of the time? Do my soul and mind need extra attention? Then I’ll read something to feed them good things, and help them grow. Am I feeling like I am on a soul/mind overload? Well then, mindless whatever on Netflix will do.
Getting enough sleep and unplugging are both doable – you just need to find what works for you, and the ways to make it happen.

What makes you amazing? When stress rears its ugly head, I find that one of the first things I feel is ‘out of control’. This could be because it usually happens when I actually am – when something has happened, and I have no control over it. When I am in a situation where I want to be a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem, but in order for that to happen, the other person (or the situation) needs to take part and be involved in some way (or change).
And one of my stress responses is to ‘feel failure‘, and pretty much ‘run myself down’- begin to feel inadequate and unworthy and incapable.
It really helps me to ‘take a moment’. (And if there is a mirror nearby, I use it. And my kids will be heard saying, ”Mom’s talking to herself again”! πŸ˜› )
Many times, I am NOT feeling it. But I do it, and say it, anyway. Three things. Just three things about me that are ‘good’. Not necessarily applicable to the situation – but three positive qualities, nevertheless.
To be honest, some days it’s so difficult that by the time I have named them, the stressful situation has actually been forgotten πŸ˜›
Again, this little thing that I do doesn’t change the situation – whatever is ‘stressing me out’ doesn’t magically disappear. But it does serve to remind me that I still have worth – I still have strength and positive attributes – yes, this will slow me down, but I’m still okay. I have to say that this one is my absolute favourite – it has benefitted me the last few years in ways that I cannot even begin to describe.
I’ll say it again – I don’t always FEEL it when I say it. And it is VERY far from easy, especially when I am stressed. But the more I have been doing it, and saying it, the more I am reaping the benefits of it πŸ˜‰

There are other techniques I have discovered over the years that also help me. But these are by far my top four. So, in short :

And just for fun, I’ll share a little statement I saw on Facebook recently, which made me laugh out loud.

”Don’t forget to drink water and get sun. You’re basically a house plant, with complicated emotions.” πŸ˜›

Making Other Plans

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… ”Life sometimes happens when we are busy making other plans”.

The original quote came from John Lennon, apparently. (There has been some speculation, and according to the Yale book of quotations, the origin is attributed to writer and cartoonist Allen Saunders.)

Whoever said it, whoever came up with it? There’s truth to it!

We all know that sometimes ‘life’ just happens. And let’s face it, in an ideal world it would happen the way we wanted it to… but we all know that at present our world is less than ideal. I have many moments (some good and some bad) where I find myself stopping to catch my breath, and thinking, ”Wait! What just happened?”

These days, it’s just too easy to ‘get busy and run out of time’. So many occurrences that dim the light of our passions.
Suddenly we notice that yet another week has passed us by, and in reflecting on it we suddenly become aware of the little things : there wasn’t a moment where I experienced a good old belly chuckle; that great thing happened on Tuesday, but I was so worried about the meeting on Wednesday that I didn’t actually take time to appreciate it; my days were so full of ‘being busy’ that I didn’t stop to breathe, and just be ‘me’. And the list goes on and on.

It’s a never ending ‘cycle of life’ for many of us, right?

In a world where bravery and strength only seems to be acknowledged when you’re doing it ‘out loud’, perhaps we should try and pause for a moment, and reflect inwardly, and try and remember that the bravery and strength that lies within our hearts is far more important than the ones that get ‘shouted about’.

There is power in holding joy in your heart
There is power in practicing restraint.
There is power in giving to others – not only in not expecting to get it back, but also in not needing to advertise it.
There is power in being kind – especially to those who ‘don’t deserve it’.

And the bravery and strength within your heart – if your heart is true and you allow these things to consume it (take time to reflect on THEM and educate yourself/absorb your heart and mind in THESE things) – will give you that power…

To ‘do’ life… when it happens…

To learn to live with grace, for yourself, and especially for others!

And to experience a joy that not many people can actually understand!

Please be good to yourselves this week – and to your hearts! Because you are worth it! ❀

positive stress

Wait, what?!?

The word ‘stress’ has always held such a negative connotation for me. And 95% of the articles and conversations in my life, that have been read, heard or participated in, have all been regarding the negative side of stress – distress, as some refer to it. It has never crossed my mind that there could be a ‘positive’ type of stress… until today.

I happened to be glancing through a backlog of emails, and the subject of one was ‘positive stress’. So that is the first one I read, of course! πŸ˜‰
The official term for it is ‘Eustress’. It is defined as being ‘a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being‘.

The good stress is the kind that is nerve and hormone driven – it has to do with excitement, even if we are stepping into the unknown. The list of triggers for this kind of stress is very long, and as I read through them, I understood another statement I had read just moments earlier.

The statement was this : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”

One of the triggers for ‘good stress’ was ‘taking on a project that will help you showcase your strengths, which will not only bring you professional satisfaction, but many positive reactions in your emotional well-being too’.

My first reaction to reading that as being an example for eustress was a firm shake of my head. Because it didn’t happen that way for me at all! And as I pondered my reaction, I reread this statement : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”
And I realised that THAT was in fact what had happened to me in my situation!

In my late twenties, I had been offered an amazing opportunity to use my talents and head up a new project that my current boss was considering taking on. It would mean a lot of research, but I was going to be able to not only draft the presentation, but actually present it myself, to a group of influential people in that line of work. I hardly slept that night because I was just so excited, and the ideas swimming around in my head were ‘Olympic quality swimmers’ πŸ˜‰
By lunchtime the next day, I was sick to my stomach, and convinced my heart was gearing up to fail me.
In our meeting of opportunity, my boss had actually been the one to fail me. He’d handed me the Dessert, before showing me the full menu!

The presentation meeting had already been scheduled – I had three days, start to finish!
None of the presentation work could be done during working hours, as I was already busy all day, handling all the administration for his other three businesses – this included payroll and bookkeeping etc. I was newly divorced with an eighteen-month-old baby girl, and an eight-year-old son, with no child care options available to me.
Eustress escalated quickly into distress. And by the time the meeting arrived, I was physically ill as a result of lack of sleep, and, well, ‘bad’ stress.

And at the end of it all, I was not only physically ill, but unhappy emotionally too – I knew it wasn’t my best work, I was disappointed in myself and felt inadequate…. and my confidence definitely took a knock.
I suppose the lesson in my personal experience with work stress was simply this : to know myself, to be realistic about the resources I have, and to learn to speak up before I get overwhelmed (or overwhelm myself, I suppose).
And, in all honesty, it would serve me to remember to apply that to all areas in my life πŸ˜‰

I’ll close with this little list, which was provided as ways to include/introduce more positive stress in your life :

β€’ Make an effort to learn something new every day – even if it is something small
β€’ Get out of your comfort zone – try taking on a new challenge in the ‘great unknown’.
β€’ Boost your positive endorphins by getting some exercise!
β€’ Start delving into ways to set realistic, yet challenging, goals and try a new way each week, growing these over time.

And that’s all from me for today ❀
I’m off to spend some time on the new course I signed up for πŸ˜‰

Scrambling For Words

Today is SCRABBLE DAY!

A day I simply had to post about because of the fond memories I have associated with this board game!

Today was chosen as the day to celebrate the game, because it is also the day that the game creator was born! His name was Alfred Mosher Butts and he invented this board game during The Great Depression in the 1930’s.

At the time that he created the game, many were out of work, starving for food, depressed. Including Alfred himself. He was an Architect – an out of work Architect.

I’d like to think that it wasn’t just boredom that caused him to create it. But that’s me and my positive spin on life, I guess πŸ˜› I’d like to think that as he looked around him, and saw people struggling, that he wanted to provide them with something that would not only stimulate their brains, but possibly also distract them from the misery of their circumstances.

The game was originally called LEXICO, later changed to Criss Cross Words, and of course it is now Scrabble, as we know it.

Alfred teaches us a lesson in tenacity – in the reward that comes with never giving up. Because initially his game was rejected by most board game manufacturers. He eventually encountered a man by the name of James Brunot, who purchased the rights to the game, made a few minor adjustments and renamed it…. making Scrabble (and Alfred) a household name.

The fond memories I mentioned? I can still see my Granny and Grampie now, huddled over their Scrabble board, trying to outdo each other and achieve maximum points so as to ultimately be declared the winner. It makes me smile. They played every night – early evening, straight after supper. And I looked forward to sleepovers at their house, so that I could be a part of the action!

As soon as I was able to begin spelling, there was always a ‘pre-game’ game – Grampie would take me on, and Granny was allowed to help me, but only a little bit. For a few years, I found myself scrambling for words! And then I started to get better at it, and Granny no longer needed to assist. I never did beat Grampie though – he remains ‘our champion’, in more ways than one ❀

I found this image on Pinterest, and it made me smile even more, as it is a picture of the original game, and the box looks identical to my grandparents box – well used πŸ˜‰

It was amusing to see my brother (the middle child in our family – nine years my senior) proudly unpack his very own Scrabble game when he was eighteen, and right up until the moment he moved out (when he was about 24, I think it was) I would regularly find him playing against himself, either on his bed, or next to the swimming pool while he was ‘tanning’.

No one in my family has ever participated in any formal Scrabble championships (that I know of) – playing against each other was apparently challenging enough! πŸ˜› The only time I have ever won a game, was when I played against myself πŸ˜› But that has never caused me to turn down the opportunity to play – I have definitely always played for the enjoyment of it πŸ˜‰

Interestingly enough, even worldwide Scrabble championships have scandals attached to them! What next?!?! Ha ha ha!

Happy Scrabble Day, everyone! Please go and have some fun with words today πŸ˜‰

A Positive Attitude

I really love the above statement… and to add to it : I am 100% certain that something positive WILL happen today.

The important word to note in my little follow up statement is ‘something’.
Because my day could suck in general. I just never know. My attitude doesn’t have to.
And so, into my day, I bring a positive attitude that tells me : even when stuff goes wrong, even when you feel overwhelmed or sad or angry, even when a multitude of little things just don’t turn out right…. even then, I have the reassurance that if I take the time to stop and look, SOMETHING will have gone right and be a positive plus in my day.

And some days I truly DO have to stop and look. And REALLY think about the little things.
But when I choose to reflect, and do so in a way that is trying to find something GOOD, and just ignore all the bad for a few moments while I do so…. well, I never come up empty.

My ‘life attitude’ IS generally positive. It wasn’t always like this. And it definitely isn’t something easily maintained.
But I have found that leaning towards the positive is definitely far more beneficial for me than ‘reflecting on the negative’ and inviting bitterness and anger and sadness to rule my head and my heart.

Please don’t get me wrong…

My past has been very far from sunshine and roses – there have definitely been far too many dark clouds and thorns. And I wasted a lot of time dwelling on those – allowing thoughts in my mind and feelings in my heart that slowly began to eat away at me.
Not all those ‘situations’ have been resolved – but it’s amazing what a change of attitude can do!

Somebody mentioned that being ‘endlessly positive can be toxic’. But I think they have missed the point!

Life is FULL of negatives! Bad things happen to good people! I cry, I get angry – I still FEEL those negative emotions. But when we can take control of our attitudes? When we can still find SOMETHING good, despite the chaos and turmoil? We find ourselves unleashing a new power within, and a new strength! Because even when things are out of control around us, we will have control within us… and that brings a peace and inner joy that defies explanation!

My hope for you is that this weekend you will be reminded of all that is good in YOU, instead of all that is wrong in your world! ❀

Belated Easter

They say that Easter is the only time it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. Nope. Not true.
If I did that, in MY house, by the time I got to the basket there probably wouldn’t even be one left for me. πŸ˜›

This is not because my children are selfish. Or because they don’t care about their mom. (In fact, my daughter will tell me it is because she cares, and is trying to help me lose weight πŸ˜› )
It is simply because, well, they love chocolate.
And they know their mom – if it’s left lying around, it’s for us – if mom wanted it for herself, she would have hidden it πŸ˜›

Something was missing for me this Easter. By the time Sunday lunch rolled around, I felt a bit restless, trying to determine what it could be. (We celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday – the chocolate overload dished out in the morning, and a delicious roast dinner at lunchtime.)
I put the ‘missing part’ down to the fact that by the time Sunday rolled around I was utterly exhausted, after the events of the last few weeks, both emotional and physical. Pain didn’t help – I’d helped move my mothers care home and lifting boxes, carrying things etc. isn’t quite a great thing to be doing when you suffer from old back injuries.
Plus there was the fact that I had kicked my baby toe so hard, I broke it – but that just makes me laugh. I am a strange one, indeed!

It was only when my daughter came to me in the late afternoon, and made a comment, that I realised what had been missing!

Every Easter Sunday, for the past 20 years, I have woken up early in the morning, to write out clues and hide them with Easter eggs…. sending my children to hunt for their next dose of chocolate. As they have got older, I was able to have even more fun with it, because I could make the clues a bit more difficult. On Saturday afternoon, knowing how truly tired their mom was, both kids had approached me at different times, saying that they were really too old for it, and it wasn’t necessary. And so I didn’t give it another thought.

And then my daughter commented on Sunday afternoon, ”I actually missed the clues this morning – it wasn’t the same.”
And in that moment, I knew that my heart had missed doing it…. that that was the ‘missing part’ for me. Something so small, and seemingly insignificant. That actually had a great impact on all of us – because when I asked my son later if he had missed it too, he smiled and said that even though he knows he is an adult and too old for ‘his mom to be doing stuff like that’, it was weird to get all his share of the Easter eggs at once.

Things change with every year that rolls by. The pandemic brought VAST changes in just a year, that none of us saw coming. If you’re a believer, then you know that God never changes.

But I also realised something else that doesn’t change : the little things really DO make a difference! We need to keep doing them!

Here’s hoping you all had a really great Easter! ❀