Tired Talk

Most of my day yesterday was consumed with ‘dementia talk’. Six phone calls – three of which lasted only five minutes. The other three were each almost an hour. It was mentally and emotionally draining.
There are also committee issues within the housing complex where I live, and so the interruptions because of that were also rather stressful. (I am not on the committee, but am starting to feel like they should just get it over with and appoint me 😛 except I don’t want to be on the committee! 😛 )

By 20:00, my brain felt like it was shutting down. I was tired. Just. so. darn. tired.

And so I just stopped.

I sat down on the edge of my bed, closed my eyes, and did nothing but breathe. In for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, out for five seconds. I stopped after about ten because it made me lightheaded 😛
But because I was so busy counting in my head, nothing else was boggling my brain.
I felt a bit calmer when I was done. And all the noise in my head had also quieted to a point that I was able to calmly process all that had happened during the day.

I weeded out the unnecessary, and focused on the parts that actually mattered.
I was then able to determine which things I could actually do something about, and which things I had no control over.
It’s taken me years of practice, but I am definitely a lot better these days at being able to accept that when it comes to the things I can’t control, I need to let them go. And by letting them go I mean this : they’re still there, in my mind and who knows what they’re doing subconsciously….
But consciously? I know I cannot change them. I have accepted that. I need to shift my focus and move away from them.
It’s not always easy… but to keep trying to fix things that I have no control over? Well, it just makes me miserable and frustrated, and I don’t like feeling that way.
Doing all that left me with only two things that need to be attended to today.

The rest of today will probably look something like this … 😉

I need to consciously make this an EVERY DAY thing…

And perhaps one day I’ll get them ALL right 😉

Here’s hoping you are able to strive for the above too. Here’s hoping you all have a great day! And don’t forget to breathe! 😉

Holiday Wish List

Everything is different this year. Birthdays were celebrated, and yet not. New life happened, but there were no hospital visits and flower deliveries. Lives were lost, and a text message/phone call became the new way to comfort.

Christmas is different too. And yet… is it? Admittedly, my usual Christmas spirit seems to have gone on a vacation all by itself. We’ve had some dreadful humidity these last few days so perhaps it has sought out a cooler climate. I wish it had thought to take me with it!

Last night, as I sat thinking about Friday – Christmas Day – (my goodness, how did it get here so fast!!!!) I also started thinking about seasonal things. I had shared the following on my personal Facebook page last Friday, with just one week to go till the ‘big day’ :


I went to look at it again, and it suddenly struck me that this has been my wish list all year, for a few years.
If someone asked me what I would like my life to look like, it would be all of the above. Circumstances are not always conducive to these things… but I could still make the effort.

Here is hoping that in these difficult times….

May you all have the least of the less… and an overwhelmingly encouraging abundance of the more!
Not just for this holiday season… but every day 😉

Calm in your heart

On Sunday, my friend, Wic, published a post called I Choose Peace.

It was, like so many of the Letters to Pogue, thought provoking, and contained many nuggets of wisdom. This particular statement from that post has sat with me the last two days :

”PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Anon”

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, my country is one of high crime, high unemployment, huge issues with corruption within the government, and poverty – just to mention a few.

I wasn’t surprised to discover that South Africa is ranked as the second most stressed out country in the world, losing first place to Nigeria. We gained our second place standing  based on homicide rates, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), income inequality, corruption, unemployment, pollution and life expectancy.

I found an article from 2019 – which means it was researched, tests were done, and it was written all BEFORE the current pandemic.

There is a meme making its rounds on social media that states that ‘living in SA should be allowed to be listed as a skill on my CV’. And yes, most of us here DO laugh at it – but we know the truth in those words too.

In the article I mentioned above, I also happened to have a good belly chuckle at the following extract – because it is just so true :

Bring out the stress balls – South Africa is a mess! A recent global study has revealed the main factors which have South African citizens living in a perpetual state of anxiety and despair. Let’s take a look at the findings.

It has been said that there are two types of people in South Africa: those who can handle massive amounts of stress, and those who need bail money. As South Africans, we even find it stressful to avoid stress, and end up stressed out in anyway. We wake up screaming, and then realise that we haven’t even fallen asleep yet.”

I knew the info in the article. It’s hard not to when you live it, although it’s worse than when the article was written. I also know that my American BFF wouldn’t know any of what was going on if it wasn’t for me – she doesn’t get to see our ‘true news’ in her country, as such. I send her newspaper article links and keep her informed, and she is always shocked at how they (in the US) know nothing about most of it.
I don’t like politics. I don’t like to be negative. But let’s go back to that statement I shared above –
”PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Anon”
Life, for me here, is stressful – not as stressful as it is for multitudes of others in my country – but it’s still stressful. It’s also quite exhausting – constantly having to be aware of every person who moves, looking over your shoulder in broad daylight, wondering about your safety when you’re putting groceries in your car etc. We live in a constant state of awareness – and that’s tiring.

But I sleep well at night (although if there is a report of someone suspicious within our complex, or sirens on the main road outside, or people screaming, or gunshots, then it may take a while to get to sleep) – but I sleep. I wake during the night with my dogs, but I have no problem going back to sleep unless something ails me.

I don’t worry as much as I possibly should.
I still spread kindness and a smile.
I may not have achieved complete inner peace – there are still some things I need to wrestle with – but I certainly think that peace, the kind that keeps my heart calm, is a very large part of me.
My grandparents sang in the church choir my entire childhood. Grandpa had two favourite hymns, and the one was, ”It is well with my soul”.
In the pandemic, with all that is happening around me, I find myself referring to that hymn a lot in the sense that even though I seem to have had physical ailments (not the virus, no), I have taken comfort in the fact that it is still well with my soul.
There are difficult days – where it is an hour by hour motivational talk to myself to get me through. And it is on those days where I remember how important it is to feed my soul, so that it can be well.
I do not bury my head in the sand and not acknowledge that the problems exist. Outside influences DO affect us…. but it’s how much we are willing to let them affect us where the ‘answer’ lies. I also know that there are places in the world that are worse off, and it hurts me every time I think of them.
My hope for all of you is to achieve that inner peace that can help keep your hearts stay calm in the midst of the storms of life. To pursue a path that will give you the assurance of ‘it is well, despite the circumstances’.
Keep going, dear friends. Peace ❤

Stormy Disasters

I don’t mean to downplay the effects of natural disasters – but when I saw this I have to admit that I DID laugh, and my next thought was, ”Actually, that’s pretty clever”!

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My daughter is extremely fascinated by natural disasters. They started learning about them in geography a few years ago, and it’s a topic that has interested her ever since. Up until about a year ago, she wasn’t really aware of the devastating effects that they can have – and then she discovered movies about earthquakes and volcano eruptions, and that changed. (We don’t really experience natural disasters here.)

The thing about these disasters, and storms, is that they’re rather unpredictable. There is only so much man can calculate – the rest is left to ‘nature’.

I love storms. That’s something we get A LOT of – full on, electric thunderstorms! In fact, lightning related deaths around here are four times higher than the global average. And I actually have a friend who was struck by lightning, and after hours of surgery and skin grafts has the scars to prove it on her body, and is alive to tell the tale – thank goodness!

I love to sit out on the porch (undercover, of course) and see the brilliant electric sparks of the lightning, and hear the deep booming crackle of the thunder. It’s a powerful phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me. And then there’s also the rain – unpredictable too – because some days there’s a whole lot of noise and spectacular sky for just a few gentle drops. We’re edging into Summer here, and that will no doubt bring us hail storms. Those days, I have to stay inside with my dogs – they’re not afraid! Those silly, furry kids of mine want to play with the balls falling from the sky 😛

While I get overly enthusiastic about stormy weather, it’s always been a struggle to be that way with the storms of life. (Yes, you knew where I was headed 😉 ) And then one day I really thought about those storms that come into my life – sometimes out of nowhere – and something in my perspective shifted. So today, I’d like to share those thoughts with you.

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Photo credit : boomsumo.com

When my children were young, I spent a lot of time reassuring them that all was okay and that the storm would eventually pass. I spent a lot of time having to calm them. And I guess that’s the thing with storms in life. They happen. We can’t always control them. But we need to keep ourselves calm in their duration. And while their duration may be a little too lengthy for our liking, they will end. And yes, perhaps there will be another one directly thereafter – we don’t know what the future holds, or how many are heading our way. And sometimes it’s more of the same type of storm. But each one does have an end. Being calm for its duration helps.

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Shelter from the storm is important. Especially when it’s raging. It’s no good holding things in and going it alone – have the courage to turn to others that you feel you can trust and ask them to help shelter you in whatever means you deem necessary : with prayer, encouragement and support.

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It’s easy to get caught up in the despair of the storm that is brewing or raging. It’s easy to experience a multitude of negative emotions overlapping and consuming us. It’s NOT so easy to pause in the midst of the storm and reflect on what is actually happening. But it’s important. If we can acknowledge and recognise the cause, we can equip ourselves with the tools to outlast it. We can learn from them – and the outcome is usually linked to helping someone else later down the road. Sometimes they’re a test, sometimes they’re to show us what we need to change within ourselves, sometimes they’re there to take us out of our comfort zones and develop our character – no wonder they’re not enjoyable! 

But most important of all :

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Photo credit : quotabulary.com

Being caught up in a storm is difficult. Rest when you need to. Fuel your body and your mind. Be attentive to your needs. Remember that you’ll never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head, so be kind!

AND….

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