Sparrows and Storms

I need to warn you that this is a rather long post. And because of the content, some may struggle with it – and that’s okay ❀ But my hope is that somewhere in here, you will be encouraged and know that you are loved too.


What a week it has been! Yet again! It would seem that the ‘weather of life’ for me has chosen to be stormy. But my boat still floats πŸ˜‰
Despite outside judgements, and raised eyebrows because ‘there is no way she could be for real’, I have decided to completely embrace and love this part of me that has blossomed the last few months – the part that still really has peace in my soul, and joy in my heart, even though my floating boat looks like it may lose a plank πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

I have a story in a story to share with you.. but before I do, I need to give you some background.

In my town, we all know it is risky to drink the water from our taps. Our failing infrastructure and inadequate water treatment plants makes it that way. I think the last cholera outbreak in my town was about seven years ago… but a study done in 2019 pretty much confirmed we’re heading for the next one. Sigh. Then again, maybe not. Because we are currently in a serious drought and dam levels are falling, fast. Based on current capacity, we may not have water in our taps by October. Some areas in a neighbouring town, which is a lot larger than mine, are already experiencing this.
And these are in ‘major towns and cities’. (Many rural areas have not had access to water for far too many years – but that’s a whole other story entirely!) But I digress….

SO! Three times a week, I visit a small family owned water shop, to purchase purified water. I have to go so often, because I can only carry 10 litres in each hand a time πŸ˜› (I am a water baby, as are my kids… so we drink a lot of water – my first thought about the threat of taps running dry was not showering or flushing the loo… but what on earth am I going to drink!!!)
I started going to this particular shop about three years ago now, and at first I was just a customer.
Then one Monday I walked in, and the young lady (she’s my age πŸ˜› ) named Vee, who is always there working with her dad, was all alone. The shop was busy that day, and so I got my water and went on my way. Two days later, she was alone again. This time, it was just her and I, and so I asked, ”Where’s Dad? Gone on holiday?” Tears filled her eyes, and she could barely get the words out, as she told me that he had had a heart attack and was in the ICU at a nearby hospital and it didn’t look good. This was pre-Covid, so I grabbed her and gave her a long hug. I watched her shop while she went to the bathroom to compose herself, and when I left, I gave her my number in case she needed anything.
I stopped in there the next day, with a chocolate and a little note of encouragement for her, and asked how her dad was. There was no change.
On my Friday fill up, I took her another bar of chocolate (because chocolate always helps) and I was thrilled to see a huge smile on her face, and be told that Dad was out of ICU and improving steadily!
She messaged me on the Sunday, excited to let me know that she was on her way to fetch him – he was coming home. And to thank me for my encouragement and caring.
And a friendship was born.
With the pandemic, her dad stays home these days. But every now and then, he drops something off for her and I happen to be there, and I get to say hi.
Vee and I have never gone out for coffee, or visited at each other’s homes – but there are times where filling my water means filling my tummy with a cuppa too – and I’ll end up spending a whole hour there sometimes. So we are friends – just not ”social” friends πŸ˜›

Now for the story in a story…

At the beginning of last week, she gave me this bookmark she had made for me.

The writing on it says : ”Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)”

You’ll also notice the coin randomly stuck on it next to the bird. It is a one cent piece – which stopped being minted in my country in 2002. They are a VERY rare find these days – they are not valuable, as such, but you just don’t see them anymore.

What happened was this :
Vee closed up shop on the Saturday at lunchtime and was sweeping the floor, when out from under a display counter came this small one cent coin. As she picked it up, she has no idea why, but she thought of me. She slipped it in her pocket and forgot about it. She found it again later that evening, and put it on her dressing table.
On Sunday morning, her online church sermon was based on the verse above from Matthew, about the sparrow. Again she thought of me. (I really struggle with my self esteem, sigh. It’s utterly ridiculous!)
So she set about making the bookmark for me, as a reminder to me that I truly am loved! She put the bookmark on her dressing table and happened to glance at the one cent coin. To her surprise, the picture on that particular coin was two sparrows!!!! So of course she simply HAD to attach it to my bookmark! And boy, did she have a story to tell me! πŸ˜‰
Later that evening, curiosity got the better of her, and she did some research… and it gave her ANOTHER story to tell me!

The story she found was posted by someone named MEGAN!! And to prove I am not making it up, I will share the screenshots of the story as my way of telling it to you πŸ˜‰

I may be in the midst of really stormy weather. I might still struggle with my self esteem and find it hard to believe and feel the good things about myself.

But I am grateful that something I never have to doubt is what I KNOW, despite how I feel…
I am valuable and I am loved.
And I hope you all know that too, dear friends!
❀ (Even in the times when we may not feel it!)

Wishes for you

I am one of those weird women who celebrates getting older πŸ˜›

A lot of my friends shake their heads when a birthday looms and they tease me and say, ”21 again coming up, right?” and I reply with, ”Nope. *my real age* and I wish I was 60!”

My madness is based on my ‘wisdom desire’. They say that as you get older, you get wiser. And so because I have this deep desire to be wise, and seek wisdom, I am very accepting of adding another year to my age.

I am not always accepting of scrutinising myself in the mirror on the day, and finding ‘overnight friends have come to stay’ – new wrinkles (smile lines πŸ˜‰ ) and new grey hairs (tinsel πŸ˜‰ ) but I also know that it’s my genes to blame πŸ˜›

This last week has been a difficult one with illness and death. People close to me have been rushed off to hospital, extremely ill. People I knew have left this world in tragic ways. I won’t go into details, but I was reminded yet again of how much my children and I ‘see’ every day, and how sad it is that for us ‘this is life as we know it’. How close to home everything is. But that’s for a different post entirely. For today, this is what I have for you…

When I looked in the mirror yesterday, and found new overnight friends, I also found that my hesitance to accept them in past years had been replaced by a warm welcome in my heart. And it introduced a whole new gratitude discovery to me….

The overwhelming feeling of being able to say ‘thank you’. To be alive, and healthy (other than some creaky bones πŸ˜› ) and have the opportunity to see new lines on my face and grey hairs on my head. To not only be given a new day, but another year, and more possibilities!

So, a day after finding more flaws in my appearance, I want to say to every person who is reading this :

You have this moment. Now. Please take a deep breath and as you exhale, remind yourself that you are worthy! You are amazing! You are seen! Because you exist, somebody’s life is better! You make a bigger positive impact than what you will ever think you do!
And then get out there, wrinkles and all, and remind someone else that they matter too! ❀


With a very grateful heart, and an abundance of love, I wish you all a week that exceeds even your own ‘best expectations’! ❀

Storm – free?

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself thinking, ”It really shouldn’t be THIS hard!’

And in the next breath, I find myself singing, ”Oh well….. LIFE IS LIFE!”
There is a line in that song that says, ”Life is life, come on stand up and dance‘.

This morning, I shared the above picture on my Facebook profile, and an old school friend of mine commented,
”True, Megs. I hope you’re having a season of rainbows and sunshine.”

My reply to her was this :

“Here’s hoping the same for you… and if not? Well… we both know how to dance in the rain, rightΒ πŸ˜‰Β The storms of life come with a vengeance… but we know that the sun is waiting to shine and so we can still smileΒ πŸ€—πŸ’œ

Like me, she has weathered some heavy storms. They were different to mine, but tough all the same. Life has taken her and I on very different journeys, and even though our outcomes have been different, there are still ways that we think the same. Hence my comment.

And here’s the thing….

These are not just words for me. It is who I am, and what I truly believe.
YES! I get overwhelmed, and I sometimes feel discouraged. Yes, I have bad days, where my heart feels sad. And although I will always be honest about my FEELINGS and you will know that I am struggling, I have realised that my BELIEF/HOPE and my ATTITUDE are the two most important things in the equation of life.
The belief has not come easily. I have had to work hard to change my attitude, I have had to sacrifice some things, and I have had to choose a different mindset and lifestyle.
These beautiful words that I find myself so often speaking? They’re not just to impress.
They come from a heart that has experienced trauma and deep hurt, that has every excuse to be bitter and angry.
They come from a soul that is so scarred that surely it can no longer be considered pretty?
They come from a body that is physically damaged and hurts more often than not.

But even in the darkness, when the storms keep coming…
MY heart, soul, and body CHOOSE to find a way to dance in the rain… and wait for the sun… and I can smile because I know that even in the midst of the storms there is ALWAYS a reprieve and a quick burst of sunshine to keep me going, if I choose to see it.

Please come and dance in the rain with me… and let’s keep sharing our smiles with the world ❀

You are needed

Somewhere, someone threw an alarm clock, and it caused time to fly, and I am not even entirely sure what day it is today πŸ˜›

In the last few days, I have packed up my mother’s things, moved her to a new frail care facility, and unpacked everything for her on that side too. My body hurts in places I didn’t even know I had muscles πŸ˜›
Yes… it’s been exhausting. The ‘teething problems’ have been tough emotionally. It will be a while still till she settles properly.
BUT… I am grateful she is somewhere that she will be properly fed and cared for.
I am grateful that I had the strength and ability to be able to do all that I have done.
I am grateful that I have a home, and a warm bed, to finish my days with.
I am exhausted. But I can still smile. I have so much to smile about, after all. And what I don’t have? Well, then maybe I don’t need it πŸ˜‰

Now on to today’s blog post… whatever day today is πŸ˜›

I have a wonderful fellow blogger on here who I regularly exchange emails with. A very private person, who doesn’t really reveal too much, and yet there are plenty of things I DO know. And every day, I see something in my few minutes of mindless scrolling on Facebook that make me think of this person. Because it is just who I have got to know them to be – the things that have been revealed are evidence of this sort of character.

The image I am talking about reads like this :

”I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good I CAN do.” ~ Jana Stanfield

One of my friends added in the comments, because I shared the image, that ‘even a small light in a dark tunnel is still a light’. Somebody else said to me, ”Oh Megs, this is just YOU to a tee!”

My thoughts for today on this?

What words do people associate with you? But more importantly, what words would you WANT them to associate with you? And are you trying to live up to the those words, at least? Because trying, and slow progress, is better than no progress, remember? πŸ˜‰

AND….

Whatever day it is today πŸ˜› , and no matter what your day holds, try and be kind… try and do some good… because the world needs that, but more importantly, the world needs YOU!

What is clean?

There are so many short stories that warn us about the dangers in judging others.

I’ve been on the receiving end of being wrongfully judged more times than I can count, and sadly, I have had my moments where I have been the one to pass judgement – although as I have aged, these moments have become much less, I am relieved to say.

A friend of mine updated her Facebook status with a little story. It went like this :

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood.

The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”

Her husband looked on, remaining silent.

Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry, the young woman made the same comments.

A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”

The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

So don’t be too quick to judge others, especially if your perspective of life is clouded by anger, jealousy, negativity or unfulfilled desires.

“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.”

~ Jonathan Kestenbaum

It immediately made me glance at my lounge windows, and I was horrified to see that they are definitely in need of a clean. I found myself then carefully considering whether or not I had unfairly judged anyone of late, and ended up lost in thought for the better part of an hour.

I thought I would share this little story with you…. just in case your windows need cleaning too. πŸ˜‰

Ladders and Leaning

Many of us have heard of ‘Wednesday Wisdom’- it’s a popular hashtag.

And it always makes me smile, because one of the things that I find myself desiring the most is wisdom. Someone once commented to me in my early thirties, ”Well, my girl, wisdom comes with age”. I found myself denying the ‘laws of womanhood’, and becoming excited about getting older! πŸ˜›
Do I like my laugh lines (wrinkles πŸ˜› )? Not particularly, no.
Do I like that some days I get up and everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t seem to want to work properly? πŸ˜› Gosh, no!
Do I like that my childhood punishment of having to take a nap is something I now find myself thinking of and desperately desiring to do? NOPE!
But if all those things mean that I am growing a little wiser with each passing day? Well then, YES PLEASE!

I KNOW I can’t go wrong with seeking wisdom in all things. Living a life where every minute of every day is spent being sensible and focusing on wise thinking, and being experienced and knowledgeable enough to always practice good judgement? Well then every day would be utterly incredible in the most wonderful ways! And if we could all be like that, not only would we be the very definition of perfection, but this world would be too.
At the same time, I am also fully aware that being this way every minute of every day is probably unachievable.
But if I focus on at least TRYING to be, then surely I’ll get it right more often than not?
Well, that is what I hope anyway πŸ˜‰

Positive encouragement and inspiration are, for me, wisdom nuggets to be added to my memory bank. There are little things along the way that I manage to store, and so when faced with a particular situation, I am able to recall them, and put them into practice in order to make a ‘wise choice’.
I am also a big believer in sharing positive encouragement and inspiration – nugget worthy reminders – because maybe something plants itself in your mind, and perhaps is able to ‘come to your rescue’ when you find yourself having to make a difficult choice, or help somebody else.

So here is a nugget I picked up on this morning. It will probably mean something different to you than what it means to me, because we’re all different, and our circumstances and choices that we are perhaps faced with are unique. But I thought I would share it anyway, because it left me with a lot to think about.
I saw the following quote :
β€œPeople may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” – Thomas Merton

As we all know, the definition of success is a rather personal one, because it comes down to what you think it is. Hence the impact of this quote will have a different meaning to all of us.
But this quote stirred something within me, and so I spent a little time ‘investigating’ it.
And in my ‘investigation’ I found an article that I suppose could be classified as a ‘business point of view’ but there were things in there that spoke to me in a personal way too.
SO… in the spirit of Wednesday Wisdom and imparting nuggets for others to store πŸ˜‰ …..
I will end with a quote from the article – and if you click on it, it will take you to the full article if you wish to read it.
Here’s to being wise πŸ˜‰

Sometimes, we get where we always wanted to go & then realize that what we needed was there at the bottom of the ladder the whole time – and we didn’t bring them along. That may be family, that may be friends, faith, health, whatever speaks to you.”

Follow up post – matters!

I started writing this post yesterday. And then, due to a chain of events beyond my control, I had to stop. By the time 7pm rolled around, I was just too exhausted to ‘be present’, and so here I am…. editing as I go…. finishing what I started πŸ˜‰

On Wednesday morning, I wrote and published this post.
By lunchtime, in my mind, there was so much that could be added to it, so much more that needed explaining properly, the realisation that I had probably not expressed myself correctly.
And as I lay in bed in the dark, trying to still my mind and drift off to the place where all my dreams come true, ( gee, I wonder why πŸ˜› ) I concluded that the post should probably be deleted, for a multitude of reasons.

It wasn’t written properly – my posts are very seldom what could be called well-researched though : most of the time, I just speak from my heart.
It would probably be misunderstood because it may have come across as a contradiction to the other things I say.
It probably wasn’t ‘clear enough’ in general – no one would relate in any way, and the lack of clarity (and seeming contradictions) would probably unleash quiet judgements and disappointments in me/my character.

I woke in the morning, determined to log on and delete the post – hoping that those who had already read it would still visit my blog again sometime.
But first, I needed coffee. And I needed to attend to the ‘Mom’ side of life – so I got my daughter going, got myself ready, took the girls to school (my daughter and her friend), put a load of washing on and gave the dogs their breakfast.

I logged on to WordPress, and found a comment on my post that had me reeling, in a good way. From a regular reader whose blog can be found here.
Read. Love. Livethe above is why your words meant so very much to me.
AND…
Your words reminded me of something that has become so very special to me in the last few months – words from another dear friend and blogger :
If you helped one person from their brokenness and despair to the place where they realise their potential your life would be a life well lived.”
(I actually have this printed out and stuck on my bedside cabinet so that it is the last thing I see at night, and the first thing I see in the morning.)
Those words have come to mean so much more to me though than just ‘brokenness and despair”.

They are a constant reminder to me that I cannot change ‘the world’ for everyone, but I might be able to help make it a little easier for at least one person!
That I may not be able to make a difference to a multitude, but I can make a difference to someone, and that matters!

And so my post remained, because Read. Love. Live commented – and the real shocker for me was that they found it the most relatable post thus far!
I probably could have deleted it… because I had my ONE person. But I decided to let it stay, just in case there was someone else… and there was. And then I thought, ”Well, who knows… maybe in a few months someone else will stumble upon it and need it, so I’ll just leave it right where it is.”

Some feedback on all the ”perhaps” parts of the original post :

I reached out to two of my ‘close circle’ – who both live about twenty minutes away from me, but I don’t get to see them very often because our schedules seldom coincide. Ha ha ha! (And of course, there’s currently a pandemic!)

But I reached out to them realistically.
I knew neither one could actually practically help me. I also knew that they probably couldn’t help offer solutions simply because the things I have going on have not been a part of their own personal life experiences.
So there was no expectation that if they responded, things would magically disappear or change.
And I also didn’t expect ‘proper’ responses – because I understand ‘life happens’, being busy with commitments happens and has no reflection on whether or not they are ‘making time for me and love me’.

These two friends are a mother and daughter. They have been in my life for 24 years now. And yes, we have that friendship where we can go a month without talking, and you’d never say it when we do get together, or get to chat – other than the amount of time we spend together because hey, a lot happens in a month! πŸ˜›

The ‘mother’ friend is in her early sixties. She’s been like a mother to me, but most of all, like a friend. She’s young for her age πŸ˜‰ In fact, I often ‘forget’ how old she really is, until things happen with her health, or in the case of the pandemic, and someone has to remind me that it’s ‘because she is older now, you know’. On the odd occasion when we get to catch up, she’ll leave her house at 10am, telling her husband she is coming to me… and he’ll ask, ”What is there for supper, because I KNOW you won’t be home in time!” HA HA HA! And he’s right…. she usually leaves at about 8pm that night!
I sent her a message asking if she was free for a call, and she ended up calling me instead of replying. We spoke for just under two hours. We were apparently both on downhills, and we were both cross with each other for not letting the other one know πŸ˜› Neither of us could help each other with the issues at hand in any way, other than this : genuine sadness about each other’s situations, and then a brief trip down memory lane with a good few giggles.
And the agreement at the end of our chat was that we both felt like we had just had a great big hug.

The ‘daughter’ friend is in her late twenties now – I met her when she was just five years old! Now she’s married, and has a little three year old boy of her own, who my teenage daughter adores. The ‘daughter’ friend is like the sister I never had – and like me, has two much older brothers and so she feels the same way about me. She’s my baby sister, and I am her big sister – I don’t think I ever fully appreciated my role in that until a month ago when she phoned me for advice, and I gave her my honest opinion based on personal experience, and she replied with, ”Well then that just confirms for me what I already knew – thank you. You are someone whose opinion I really value, and I know I can trust what you are saying. It’s so nice having a big sister to talk to!”
I had NOT reached out to her, because she was at work. Her mom got to her first, and that evening I got a surprise voice note from her! It made me laugh out loud :
”If Blake wasn’t sick at the moment, I’d have stopped at your house on my way home and slapped you upside the head! WHY haven’t you told me everything that has been going on? Mom filled me in, and I know I can’t help with the issues, but what CAN I do?”
A few voice notes later, reminding me of things from the past that had ‘worked out’, and made me a better person, and how hope truly never leaves this silly old heart of mine which is something she admires, and well? It helped me get off my butt on that downhill so that at least I was standing! ❀

And those conversations were exactly what I needed for yesterday’s chain of events when I got knocked down – because I just got straight back up again πŸ˜‰
(In my mind there is a medley right now…. ”I get knocked down; I’m still standing; I will survive) πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

Interestingly enough, the song I Will Survive was originally released a couple of months after I was born πŸ˜‰ And I just copied the link and the last three letters in it are my short version for MY name! meg! (I’m still processing that little titbit! πŸ˜› )

I’ll end with these words that I have read a few times in the last few days, by a lady named Rachel Martin :

”Your day doesn’t have to be perfect to have meaning!
Showing up matters
Giving matters
Trying matters
Loving matters
Being there matters
Perfection doesn’t matter
YOU MATTER.”

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˜›

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! ❀